John le Carre may possibly be the best known spy novelist that ever lived, and if you’re a fan you now have even more reason to love him as he hands a $100,000 literary prize straight to charity.
Last week, John le Carre was announced as the winner 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 citation, prize organisers praised le Carre “for his engaging and humanistic opinion-making in literary form regarding the freedom of the individual and the fundamental issues of mankind,” calling his long and illustrious career “an extraordinary contribution to the necessary fight for freedom, democracy and social justice.”
Despite being one of the best known authors of our time, le Carre tends to steer clear of the awards circuit and once even turned down a Man Booker International nomination, stating that while flattered, he did not compete for literary prizes. However, in this instance le Carre has made an exception, handing his $100,000 prize to the International Humanitatian NGO Médecins Sans Frontières.
The Olof Palme Prize itself honours 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 and is given for integrity and humanistic writing.