Photo: © Annie Leibovitz
Peace Prize of the German Book Trade 2003 Awarded to Susan
FRANKFURT, 14 October 2003 - The
Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, the Association of German
Publishers and Booksellers, has awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen
Buchhandels (Peace Prize of the German Book Trade) to the American writer
and human rights activist Susan Sontag. The New York-born writer was cited for
standing up for "the dignity of free thinking" and for her role as an
"intellectual ambassador" between the United States and Europe.
association’s director Dieter Schormann remarked in his address at
Frankfurt's Paulskirche on Sunday, that Sontag sees her first duty in speaking
the truth. "In a world of false images and distorted truths, she defends the
honor of free thought." Sontag’s opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq
and its response to the
11 terrorist attacks has frequently led to sharp criticism in the United
States. In her acceptance speech, Sontag seized the opportunity to criticize
President George W. Bush’s
administration. She drew attention to the "deliberate absence" from the
ceremony of the U.S. ambassador to Germany as typical of Washington’s
current ideology of distancing itself from "old Europe." Sontag, 70, whose
works have been translated into more than 30 languages, has a particular
affection for European literature, especially German classics and philosophy.
Awarded annually since 1950, the prize is endowed with € 15,000,
an amount made up exclusively of donations from publishers and booksellers.
Past recipients of the prize include Albert Schweitzer, Theodor Heuss, Ernst
Bloch, Max Frisch, Astrid Lindgren,
Yehudi Menuhin, Vaclav
Havel, Mario Vargas Llosa and Fritz Stern, just to name a few.
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