“A kick in the nuts aimed at the powers that be”.
That’s how Lasse Diding himself describes the purpose of the Lenin Award that’s given out every year at the theatre in Varberg.
The Lenin Award and the Robespierre Prize were founded in 2009 by the Jan Myrdal Association and Lasse Diding. The prize is awarded to “an active author or artist in Sweden, who operates with social criticism and rebellious traditions of Jan Myrdal”.
With the prize money amounting to 100,000 SEK, the Lenin Award is one of the bigger cultural awards in Sweden – and without a shadow of a doubt the most contentious! In 2013, for example, the author Susanna Alakoski refused to accept the prize, while the award winner in 2014, Jan Guillou, said in his thank you speech that “I am surprised, this wasn’t part of my plan. But I also feel extremely honoured.”
The Robespierre Prize amounts to 10,000 SEK and should reward “a young, promising writer or artist, who operates with the same critical spirit as Jan Myrdal”.
Anyone can nominate a candidate for both the Lenin Award and the Robespierre Prize. The award winners are chosen by a committee led by Lasse Diding. The formal award ceremony normally takes place at the time-honoured theatre in Varberg and afterwards the festivities are held at Hotel Gästis.
More information about the awards and about the Jan Myrdal Association can be found at www.janmyrdalsallskapet.se.