Award Citation

Mr. Prabda Yoon is one of Thailand's leading writers. Since 1998, he has not only been a prolific novelist, but also has shown his multiple talents as a critic, scriptwriter, essayist, translator, graphic designer, illustrator, photographer and musician. He is a Thai intellectual who also has a deep knowledge of Japanese culture.

He was born in Bangkok in 1973. His father was the owner of an English-language newspaper, and his mother was editor-in-chief of a women's magazine. After finishing junior high-school, he moved to the US where he received a Bachelor's degree in Art from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York. In 1998, he returned to Thailand for military service. After this he began contributing to newspapers and magazine columns and also wrote short stories. In 2000 he published his first work, a collection of short stories entitled City of Right Angles, which portrays the restless eccentricities of big-city life. Another collection of short stories, Probability, published the same year, attracted much attention for several reasons including its innovative and expressive style of writing, its theme of the social marginalization of city-dwellers and its experimental cover design. He won a Southeastern Asian Writers Award in 2002 for this book. At the time economic growth was expanding the Thai urban middle class and Thailand was vigorously promoting 'Thai identity' abroad in the areas of film-making, art and food culture. Mr.Prabda, who is both a celebrity with famous parents and a creative artist with a sophisticated metropolitan sensibility acquired while living in the US, became regarded as a standard bearer of a new era and he became the focus of the so-called Prabda phenomenon. Subsequently he has published many novels, essays and translations of foreign literature and proved himself as an accomplished writer consistently producing high-quality work. He wrote the scripts for two films including Last Life in the Universe (2003) in which a Japanese actor played the leading role; these were shown at international film festivals in various countries including Japan, drawing considerable attention.

His ideological trajectory as an urban writer reached a new peak with Toen bon tiang eoen [Waking Up On a Different Bed] (2015). This book emerges from his visit, funded by a grant from the Japan Foundation, to Siquijor Island in The Philippines. It is also called 'Black Magic Island', famous for local shamans where he met a retired Japanese ex-teacher. The book contains a world-view based on observation of, and introspection on, humanity and nature: and includes a dialogue on the thoughts of the Dutch philosopher, Baruch De Spinoza, and on the ideology and analysis of the American naturalist Henry David Thoreau's Walden; or, Life in the Woods. Through this work he combines philosophical contemplation and literary technique and gives a fascinating expression to the identity of the modern urban citizen.

From 2004 he contributed essays to the Japanese magazine EYESCREAM for three years. These essays were also published in Thai and presented unvarnished images of Japanese people and culture which provided a fresh perspective to correct previous stereotypes and misunderstandings about Japan previously prevalent in Thailand. He openly claims that Japan is his "sweetheart" and has visited Japan many times. He has studied Zen philosophy and Japanese classics such as Hojoki at university summer courses and the tea ceremony. He runs a publishing company and a bookshop, and has served as the President of The Asia Pacific Publishers Association and the Vice President of The Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand.

He is outstanding among Asian writers for the extent to which his works have been translated into Japanese. His work has also been translated into English, French, Italian and Chinese and his work has gained a great deal of interest throughout the world. His creative work contributes not only to the development of Thai literature and thought but also to improving Thailand's understanding of Japan. As the human race is exploring sustainable ways of surviving aimed at maintaining a balance between ourselves and nature, Mr. Prabda Yoon pursues, with an Asian writer’s perspective, a deeper philosophical insight into the future of humanity. For such a contribution he is a very worthy recipient of the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Prize.

At the age of 2, with his mother and sister, great grandmother, grandmother, and grandmother's sister
At the age of 3 at his childhood home in Samut Prakarn, Thailand
Directing his first feature film, Motel Mist, in Bangkok, 2015
In Japan, around 2018
At the office of the Italian publisher add editore in Torino, Italy, for the promotion tour of the Italian publication of The Sad Part Was, 2018
In conversation with Tawada Yoko Between Language and Culture 30 March 2019 in Bangkok

Message from Mr. Prabda YOON

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