Thursday, March 25, 2010

John Ralston Saul wins prestigious award










John Ralston Saul wins prestigious award


John Ralston Saul (c) Sophie BoussolsJohn Ralston Saul, President of International PEN, has been awarded the 14th Manhae Grand Prize for Literature, one of South Korea's most prestigious awards.

The Prize was established in 1997 in memory of Buddhist Reverend Manhae Yong Woon HAN, to award excellence in the fields of peace, social service, academic excellence, art, literature and missionary work. Previous recipients have included Nobel prize winner Wole Soyinka and Ko Un.

Mr Ralston Saul, on receiving the news of his award, said:

'This prize, which seems to be their major literary prize, comes out of a Buddhist view of peace and how people can live together, and I think that's very moving, very humbling. It's a very interesting way of coming at public literature.'

For the full article, published in The Globe and Mail newspaper of Canada,

Ralston Saul humbled by prestigious literary prize

Canadian novelist John Ralston Saul, 62, poses on October 20, 2009  in Linz, Austria. Ralston Saul was named new president of the PEN club  international on October 21 during the 75th world congress of the  writers association in Linz.

Canadian novelist John Ralston Saul, 62, poses on October 20, 2009 in Linz, Austria. Ralston Saul was named new president of the PEN club international on October 21 during the 75th world congress of the writers association in Linz.

Canadian novelist and essayist wins Manhae Grand Prize for Literature, one of South Korea's most prestigious awards

JAMES BRADSHAW

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

Canadian novelist and essayist John Ralston Saul has won the Manhae Grand Prize for Literature, one of South Korea's most prestigious awards.

The honour puts Mr. Ralston Saul in distinguished company alongside past winners such as Nelson Mandela, Nobel laureate in literature Wole Soyinka, the Dalai Lama, and more recently Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian human-rights advocate who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.

"It's wonderful when something [like this] comes out of nowhere," Mr. Ralston Saul said yesterday evening.

The prizes, awarded each year for peace, literature, social service, art, academic excellence and missionary work, were established in memory of Manhae Han Yong-un, a revered Korean Buddhist poet and political leader who advocated Korean independence from Japan in the early 20th century. They are given for a body of work that honours Han's ideals of freedom, equality, harmony and love.

For years, Mr. Ralston Saul has been an occasional traveller to South Korea and a keen reader of its writers, particularly the younger generation of authors he describes as "extremely sharp and disturbing."

One of his early visits shaped his Governor General's Award-winning Massey Lectures, The Unconscious Civilization, which includes "a reflection on how humans could be integrated into a place based on Buddhist buildings that I'd seen." The work received special notice in his citation for the Manhae Prize.

He will travel to South Korea in late August to accept the award.

"This prize, which seems to be their major literary prize, comes out of a Buddhist view of peace and how people can live together, and I think that's very moving, very humbling," he said. "It's a very interesting way of coming at public literature."

The author of 10 non-fiction books and five novels, Mr. Ralston Saul has written widely on Western civilizations and their power structures, examining concepts from individualism to democracy. His latest work, A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada, argues that Canada is a Métis nation.

Last October, Mr. Ralston Saul became the first Canadian to be named president of International PEN, a worldwide association of writers. He is married to former Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson.



About the Prize:





The society for the Promotion and Practice of Manhae's Thoughts establishes the Manhae Prize(Manhae Daesang) in memory of, and for the dissemination of, the high thinking and noble mind of Reverend Manhae(1879-1944).

As is well known, Reverend Manhae devoted his body and soul to the noble and just cause of national independence: until he breathed his last, he fought against the tyranny of the Japanese colonialist rule, armed with the idea of freedom and equality and that of harmony and peace, and he never ceased putting into practice his idea of love; indeed, he not only loved his country and its people but also had a deep affection for all the living beings of the word.

What is the most valuable thing in this world? It would be a noble mind that cares, and pays respect to, all the living beings of the world, and it would be the idea of love that enables all the living being of the world to be born and enjoy life. Also, it would be the idea of freedom and equality or the idea of harmony and peace that helps the idea of love come into full bloom. Reverend Manhae knew this and actively upheld what he believed to be the most valuable cause. Indeed, he is one of the paragons of justice and morality, whose high thinking and noble mind have illuminated all of us the right path to peace and happiness.

To repeat, in memory of, and for the dissemination of, Reverend Manhae's Prize in the following categories; Peace, Social Service, Academic Excellence, Art, Literature, and Missionary Work. The Society hopes that the Manhae's high thinking and noble mind. And the successful and fair management of the Manhae Prize.

The Society for the Promotion and Prac tice of Manhae's Thoughts.

(January 1997)

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