Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The August Gala in the refugee crisis signs – Swedish Dagbladet

A ugustpriset became a reminder of literature’s power to humanize. In the authors’ hands, we are all individuals – rather than a fleeing herd.

Photo: Tomas Oneborg

It became the August Gala in the refugee crisis character. Worthy winner of the fiction category, “All I remember” by Jonas Hassen Khemiri, gives voice to several different people and moves around a variety of themes. Among these are immigration, alienation, and not least the fugitives vulnerability. Samuel, the dead man whose fate the book’s narrator looking track, working on the Migration Board and is in love with Laide who works as an Arabic interpreter. Together they try to help vulnerable women who come to Sweden and for various reasons, need somewhere to stay. But the situation is difficult to manage – women are becoming more and attracts men who move into what will be a shelter. Where is generositetens limits? And why do we help people others – does it matter if we do it with obscure motives?

Compere Melinda Kinnaman opened the gala with quote Dagerman’s reportage “German Autumn”, a story he wrote after the end of WWII . The hostility previously directed against Jews, homosexuals and gypsies were turned now toward the German people. Dager’s text highlights the fact that we must never stop looking man in the crowd. Literature is an excellent way to do just that, it finds its way into us as individuals and draws up the contours around our psyches – why is it needed more than ever in difficult times like ours.

Culture Alice Bah Kuhnke , who distributed the Little August Prize, Sweden’s essay contest, Rasmus Bjerkander for the short story “It is in no way special” told me that she recently slept poorly, and therefore reading more than usual. During sleepless nights thinking she, with the help of literature, on what is now happening in the world, the ones who are on the run and at what crisis will mean for culture and literature.

The award for best Swedish non-fiction went to “My European family” by science journalist Karin bent. Bojs writes the borderline between genetics and family history, if well his own DNA, and their family, and of how humanity has come to populate Europe. Even here there migration as a theme, like the fact that we all (since the Neanderthal DNA was mixed with Homo sapiens ) is a mixture. If you go back far enough, we have all the “foreign origin”. Readable and instructive, though my favorite category was Karin Johannisson “The wounded diva”, providing redress to the three creative, mentally ill female geniuses who have long been treated as victims. Also nominated Maja Hager’s “Dearest Herman” on rasbiologen Herman Lundborg, a more in-depth book on a similar theme as “My European family”.

The award for best children’s and young adult went to the acclaimed youth book “When the dogs are coming” by Jessica Schiefauer whose plot is reminiscent of John Hron, the boy who was killed by neo-Nazis in 1995. While the two young people in love attracted to each other like magnets pulled another as far into the xenophobia that he takes step over the threshold and make the worst – killer. Schiefauer, who also won the August Prize in child and youth category in 2011 with “The Boys”, a turnover in literature it Dagerman treated in their reportage. Without apology or reduce crime digs herself into enemy psyche, seeking to understand and portray it. With her is either love or hatred clichéd – but very headstrong and individual.

August Prize

The August Prize, instituted in 1989, awarded by the Swedish Publishers’ Association.

From the beginning there was only one category, the literary. 1992 also introduced the prize for the best non-fiction book and the year’s best children’s and young adult.

A jury of each category nominate six titles each. Then read each nominated title of each category of the 21 so-called electors, who are booksellers, third librarians and literary critics.

The winner in each category will receive 100 000.


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