International Stefan Heym Prize goes to Slavenka Drakulić and Richard Swartz


The 2020 International Stefan Heym Prize winners are the Croatian novelist and journalist Slavenka Drakulić and the Swedish author and journalist Richard Swartz. The coveted award recognizes their works as a protest against the collective amnesia, a guiding light of the intercultural compassion and reconciliation and an invitation to readers to make their own judgements and decisions. Slavenka Drakulić and Richard Swartz will receive the award on April 3d 2020 in Chemnitz.

The City of Chemnitz established the prize in 2008., in memory of the life and works of its honorary citizen Stefan Heym, for all those courageous enough to criticize our times and whose extraordinary literary and journalist work will survive through time. The first to win the prize was Amos Oz.

The committee of the prize considers Drakulić and Swartz to be the absolute representatives of the European voices: through individual stories they both tackle great European issues. War and peace, democracy and dictatorship, war crimes and responsibilities, equality and justice: Slavenka Drakulić and Richard Swartz, the chroniclers of our time, stand out with their powerful literary observations of the past and the present, proclaiming uncontested truths.

The president of the International Association Stefan Heym, Ulrike Uhlig, praised this year’s winners: “Both Drakulić and Swartz combine literary narration and journalistic analysis, and have contributed greatly to numerous pressing arguments. A Croatian and a Swede, East and West together, that is the embodiment of the European integration. The literary creation combined with social and political responsibility: in a word, excellent choice!”