Kenyan author and cultural theorist, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, is this year’s Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize 2019 awardee.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o primarily receives the award for his enlightening anti-colonial themes, use of traditional African narration and performance skills, and his advocacy of preserving the mother tongue as a mark of identification.
“With Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o we are honouring a writer who is concerned with the self-determination of African cultures and with a detachment from colonial constraints. His attempt to create a dialogue about literature in spite of or precisely because of the various languages he speaks evokes understanding for the other continent and can thus contribute to peace. Also with regard to the avoidance of a new colonialism, as it is strived for today e.g. by China. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is an important representative of the independence through language”, according to the jury.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o vehemently advocates the right of peoples to cultural self-determination as an identity and peace-building characteristic and thus corresponds to the thinking and conviction of Erich Maria Remarques, who expressed himself in 1929 on the consequences of the First World War: “We finally know that all people in the world are equal; we know that all have the same concerns, the same joys, the same hopes and the same life. Today we take the trouble to look into each other’s heads. And four years of war have shown us only the value of peace.”
Every two years since 1991, the city of Osnabrück awards the Peace Prize, named after the world-famous writer Erich Maria Remarque, who was born in Osnabrück. This year the award endowed with 25,000 euros, will be presented for the 15th time.
The award ceremony will take place on Friday, 29 November 2019 at 11 am in the Friedenssaal of the historic town hall of the city of Osnabrück.