A Holocaust survivor who escaped from a Second World War labour camp has won a literary prize for a novel inspired by his experiences.
Aharon Appelfeld's Blooms Of Darkness was awarded the £10,000 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize at an event in central London making the 80-year-old the oldest ever winner of the prize.
The novel, translated from the Hebrew into English by Jeffrey M Green, beat five other books including the latest novel by The Name Of The Rose author Umberto Eco.
It tells the story of an 11-year-old boy, Hugo, who is sheltered by a prostitute, Mariana, as the war rages around them.
Mr Appelfeld, who was born in what is now Western Ukraine and sent to a camp when he was seven years old, said the book was "a work of fiction that includes my personal experience during the Second World War".
He said: "I wanted to explore the darkest places of human behaviour and to show that even there, generosity and love can survive; that humanity and love can overcome cruelty and brutality. It is a joy to win the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize alongside Jeffrey M Green - he is a highly professional translator and I love his work."
The prize is shared between the translator and the writer.
Journalist Hephzibah Anderson, who was one of this year's judges, said: "Jeffrey M Green's incantatory translation from the Hebrew does ample justice to a novel that meditates on the imagination, memory and language itself.
"As the relationship between Hugo and Mariana evolves, this deceptively simple narrative does something extraordinary, carrying the reader to a liminal territory in which deep sensuality exists alongside unfathomable brutality."
Suggested For You
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more