The author AL Kennedy has been awarded the Heine Prize in Dusseldorf, Germany. The prize is “to personalities who serve by their intellectual heritage in terms of fundamental human rights, for which Heinrich Heine used, to promote social and political progress, international understanding or the realization of the unity of people”.
The Heine Prize jury said: “The Heinrich Heine Prize of the City Dusseldorf 2016 is awarded to the excellent AL Kennedy. Born in Glasgow the author is well known for her idiosyncratic literary work, which plumbs the limits of the human soul. Her views on political and social conditions sharpen social discussions about the Iraq war and the proposed referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union in the tradition of Heinrich Heine. AL Kennedy is a great literary figure and a fractious European”
“In columns for major newspapers and in public discussions, AL Kennedy speaks up – ironic and eloquent, much like Heinrich Heine” said Thomas Geisel, Mayor of Dusseldorf.
In her excellent speech of acceptance, AL Kennedy did indeed speak up about the lack of art and its connection with a lack of humanity:
“as you know, the arts today cannot simply be about maybe some happy press releases and a congenial event where we congratulate each other on knowing about values. We are all aware that the values which keep us all safe, promise us the best possible opportunities to fulfill our humanity and to see and cherish what is human in others – those values are currently being forgotten, derided, or quietly buried alive.”
AL Kennedy, Professor of Creative Writing in the English and Comparative Literature Department at the University of Warwick said on receiving the prize:
“I am immensely proud to have received such a prestigious and ethical award for my work. I can only express my gratitude to the judges.”