Herbert literature Prize goes to Lars Gustafsson
PR dla Zagranicy
Swedish poet, playwright and novelist Lars Gustafsson is the recipient of the 2016 International Zbigniew Herbert Prize, awarded by the Warsaw-based Foundation dedicated to the memory of the late Polish writer.
Lars Gustafsson. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Gustafsson will collect the prize at a ceremony in Warsaw on 17 May, his 80th birthday.
Herbert’s widow, Katarzyna Herbert, welcomed the jury verdict. “I am very happy, all the more so that Zbigniew Herbert met Gustafsson and there is a certain affinity between them,” she said.
Jury member, Swedish writer Agneta Pleijel, shared her view saying that Herbert and Gustafsson have much in common. “Their interests focus on contemporary and historical events, as well as similarities between various historical periods. They are able to make heroes from antiquity and the Middle Ages – the heroes of our time,” she said.
Lars Gustavsson is among Sweden’s most acclaimed authors. His output includes poetry, novels, short stories, critical essays, and editorials. He has received numerous international literary awards and his works have been translated into fifteen languages. Three of his novels (“Wool Clothings”, “Family Meetings” and “The Death of a Beekeeper”) have been translated into Polish.
Launched in 2013, the International Herbert Prize is awarded for outstanding artistic and intellectual achievements which are inspired by the ideas that were central to Zbigniew Herbert’s life and creative work. Previous recipients of the distinction are American poets William Stanley Merwin (2013) and Charles Simic (2014), and Poland’s Ryszard Krynicki (2015).
Born in 1924, Herbert was one of the most influential 20th-century Polish poets, essayists and moralists. His most popular works include “Struna światła“ (The Chord of Light), “Hermes, pies i gwiazda” (Hermes, Dog and Star), “Barbarzyńca w ogrodzie” (The Barbarian in the Garden) and “Pan Cogito” (Mr. Cogito).
An anti-communist, Herbert gave his wholehearted support to the Solidarity movement. After the imposition of martial law in December 1981, his poems were recited at clandestine Solidarity meetings. His honours included the Herder Prize, the Jerusalem Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize. His works have been translated into 38 languages. He died in 1998. (mk/ rg)