The Nobel Prize-winning author Kenzaburō Ōe passed away March 3rd of old age.

His work has repeatedly been compared to William Faulkner, and Kazuo Ishiguro described him as “genuinely decent, modest, surprisingly open and honest, and very unconcerned about fame.”

Kenzaburō Ōe was a Japanese novelist known for his fiction addressing social and political issues, including nuclear disarmament, war, and disability. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1994 for his work crafting “an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today.” That same year, he was awarded Japan’s Order of Culture, which he refused because it was given by the emperor, and he didn’t “recognise any authority, any value, higher than democracy”.

Kenzaburō Ōe’s political writing attracted opposition, and he received death threats and was even assaulted during a lecture at the University of Tokyo. His most recent book was published in 2013, and he continued to speak out politically his whole life.

Some of his most well-known books are A Personal Matter; Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids; and The Silent Cry.

You can read more about Kenzaburō Ōe’s life at The Guardian.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.

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