Uehashi wins 2014 Andersen Award for authors

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2014/04/04 News

Uehashi wins 2014 Andersen Award for authors

Cultural anthropologist Nahoko Uehashi has won the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award, often described as the "Nobel Prize of children's literature." She was selected from six finalists for the Author Award.

Sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), the Andersen Award is given every other year to one author and one illustrator who have contributed to the world of juvenile literature. Other Japanese recipients of the prize include the poet Michio Mado (1909-2014) in 1994, and illustrators Suekichi Akaba (1910-90) in 1980 and Mitsumasa Anno in 1984.

Uehashi's Guardian of the Spirit series, which runs to 12 volumes, has sold over 3.6 million copies in Japan and has been translated into English, French, Spanish, and Chinese. The English edition won the Mildred A. Batchelder Award in 2009. Books from Japan features two children's books by Uehashi, Seirei no ki (The Sacred Tree) and Koteki no kanata (Beyond the Fox Whistle).

The Andersen Awards committee explained Uehashi's selection as follows: "Nahoko Uehashi writes unique fantasy novels from the viewpoint of cultural anthropology. . . Her stories about honor and duty, fate and sacrifice, are refreshing as well as being authentically Japanese. Her fantasy worlds are loosely based on medieval Japan, while at the same time are very much worlds of her own making. Not content to simply create a landscape of geography and mythology, Uehashi includes allusions to the class system as well as the interaction between spiritual and moral dimensions. . . She has an extraordinary ability to create different fantasy worlds and her work has tenderness and a great respect for nature and all sapient creatures."