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Breyten Breytenbach Awarded the 2017 Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award

Breyte Breytenbach, a South African poet, writer and artist who opposed apartheid and was a political prisoner for many years, has been awarded the 2017 Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award. The Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award is a global literary honor, largely in the field of poetry, granted annually for outstanding artistic and intellectual achievements linked to the ideas that prevailed throughout the output of Polish writer, poet and moralist Zbigniew Herbert.

The judges, a panel consisting of international poets, writers and essayists, stressed that Breytenbach’s oeuvre recalls Herbert’s words: “Let the anger of the powerless be like the sea / whenever you hear the voice of the humiliated and beaten.”

Breytenbach accepted the award, saying, “I am profoundly humbled by this recognition and accept it with the knowledge that it carries the name of a brave and wise poet and essayist. I hope I can live up to the example he gave us, particularly in this very dark season of anger and disarray. I am proud to be among those who believe that there is, in each of us, a part of humanity and a strive for values worth fighting for – in the example of and inspired by Herbert.”

To read more about the Zbigniew Herbert International Award and Breyten Breytenbach, click here.


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