Harry Potter author ‘humbled and deeply honoured’ by £60,000 prize

JK Rowling has become the first winner of a new Danish award, the Hans Christian Andersen literature prize. The author accepted the 500,000 kroner (£60,000) award yesterday at a ceremony in Odense, Denmark, the birthplace of the fairy tale writer.

Rowling said she was “humbled and deeply honoured” to receive the prize, saying “Hans Christian Andersen is a writer I revere, because his work was of that rare order that seems to transcend authorship,” and praising Andersen’s “indestructible, eternal characters.”

The prize is given to a writer whose work can be compared to that of Andersen, suggesting that figures in Rowling’s own fiction such as Harry Potter, Hagrid, Dumbledore or Draco Malfoy are expected, by the judges at least, to have the enduring appeal of Andersen’s Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina or Little Mermaid.

Certainly JK Rowling and Andersen have one, peculiarly modern, feature in common: both have inspired theme parks, Andersen’s in Shanghai and Rowling’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida.

The new prize is distinct from the Hans Christian Andersen medal, sometimes dubbed the “Nobel Prize for children’s literature”, which was awarded to David Almond earlier this year.

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