John le Carré, perhaps history’s greatest spy novelist, was this morning announced as the latest recipient of the $100,000 Olof Palme Prize, an award given for “an outstanding achievement in any of the areas of anti-racism, human rights, international understanding, peace and common security.”
In their citation, the prize organizers praised le Carré “for his engaging and humanistic opinion-making in literary form regarding the freedom of the individual and the fundamental issues of mankind,” and called his career “an extraordinary contribution to the necessary fight for freedom, democracy and social justice.”
Le Carré—whose has penned some of the most iconic works of spy fiction of the last half-century, including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, and The Night Manager—usually steers clear of the awards circuit and even turned down a Man Booker International Prize nomination in 2011, saying that while he was “enormously flattered,” he did not compete for literary prizes. On this occasion, however, le Carré has made an exception, while also stating that he will donate the sizable winnings to the international humanitarian NGO Médecins Sans Frontières.
The Olof Palme Prize itself honors the spirit of Swedish prime minister and revolutionary reformist Palme, who was gunned down on on a Stockholm street while walking back from the cinema with his wife in 1986.
[via The Guardian]