FIL Literary Prize bestowed by the Civil Association Prize for Literature in Romance Languages
“Norman Manea is the author of an extensive body of work that cannot be defined by traditional literary genres [...] In the face of history’s catastrophes of and the exiles to which we have been subjected, Manea’s works asks, poignantly and ironically—how can we define ourselves in this world of changing mirrors?,” reads the judging panel’s decision. The judges also mentioned Manea’s extensive body of work, which has been translated into over thirty languages. “The main character of his work is the Wandering Jew, who is brought to life with multiple personalities and in different eras. Old Europe and the New World are intertwined in Manea’s work as a stage for his pilgrimages, with a striking, and many times dark, sense of humor.”
Born in Suceava (Bucovina, Rumania) on July 19, 1936, his life and work have been marked by his childhood experiences in a concentration camp, and his life under a communist dictatorship and in exile. Some of his most well-known works include The Hooligan’s Return (2003), Compulsory Happiness (1999), The Black Envelope (1986), On Clowns: The Dictator and the Artist (1997), The Fifth Impossibility (2012), The Trenchcoat (1990) and his collected stories in the volume Proust’s Tea (2010). His numerous distinctions include being granted a Guggenheim Fellowship, a MacArthur Fellowship, the New York Public Library’s Literary Medal, the International Nonino Prize for Literature, becoming an elected member of the Berlin Academy of Art in 2006, winning the Prix Médicis étranger and the Medal for Cultural Merit (granted by the president of Romania in 2007), and receiving honorary PhDs from Bucharest and Cluj universities in Rumania) and from France’s Legion of Honor (2008).