John Le Carré Wins 2019 Olof Palme Prize

“The 2019 Olof Palme Prize goes to David John Moore Cornwell, also known by the pen name John le Carré, for his engaging and humanistic opinion making in literary form regarding the freedom of the individual and the fundamental issues of mankind.”

Olof Palmes minnesfond

​“One must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being.”

May Sarton — (Quoted by David Cornwell in his Olof Palme Award acceptance speech on January 30 2020)

David John Moore Cornwell, better known by his pen name John le Carré

January 30 2020 — The 2019 Olof Palme Prize goes to David John Moore Cornwell, also known by the pen name John le Carré. Today (January 30, 2020), a Prize Ceremony will be held at the Stockholm Concert Hall. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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During the 1950s and 1960s, David Cornwell worked for both the Security Service and the Secret Intelligence Service.

Cornwell was born in 1931. His third novel, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, secured him a worldwide reputation, which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honorable Schoolboy, and Smiley’s People.

His novels include The Little Drummer Girl, A Perfect Spy, The Russia House, Our Game, The Tailor of Panama, and Single & Single. He lives in Cornwall.

2019 Olof Palme Prize

The Olof Palme Prize is an annual prize awarded for an outstanding achievement in the spirit of Olof Palme. The Prize consists of a diploma and 100,000 US dollars.

The prize was established in February 1987 and is awarded by the Olof Palme Memorial Fund for International Understanding and Common Security (Swedish: Olof Palmes minnesfond för internationell förståelse och gemensam säkerhet), a fund that was established by Olof Palme’s family and the Swedish Social Democratic Party in honor of Olof Palme’s memory.

The prize organisers praised David Cornwell for his engaging and humanistic opinion.

“Attracting world-wide attention, he is constantly urging us to discuss the cynical power games of the major powers, the greed of global corporations, the irresponsible play of corrupt politicians with our health and welfare, the growing spread of international crime, the tension in the Middle East, and the alarming rise of fascism and xenophobia in Europe and the United States of America.

In the spirit of Olof Palme, David Cornwell thus gives an extraordinary contribution to the necessary fight for freedom, democracy and social justice.”

The 88-year-old author said he would donate the winnings to the international humanitarian NGO Médecins Sans Frontières.

Few authors have won the Olof Palme prize, named for the Social Democrat who led his country for 11 years and was mysteriously gunned down — the crime was never solved — in a Stockholm street in 1986 after leaving the cinema.

RELATED POST: Remembering Olof Palme (January 30 1927 – February 28 1986)

Playwright and political dissident Václav Havel won in 1989, soon before becoming president of Czechoslovakia, Danish novelist Carsten Jensen won in 2009 and the Italian journalist and author of Gomorrah Roberto Saviano won in 2011.

In conversation with John le Carré 

 John le Carré talks with Mark Phillips about his latest novel of intrigue, “Agent Running in the Field,” which examines how the British public is being “bamboozled by people with private interests” in the push for Brexit.


Olof Palmes minnesfond — Prize recipients


John Le Carré Wins 2019 Olof Palme Prize

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