Annual Award

Ingen Människa Är Illegal (No One Is Illegal), a Swedish youth network to help illegal immigrants stay in Sweden, receives the 2013 Dagerman Award! View photos from the award ceremony.

The annual Stig Dagerman Award, issued by the Stig Dagerman Society, was first given in 1996 to a victim of bullying. It was inspired by Dagerman's poem En dag om året that sets forth a vision of peace by imagining one day each year when the world is free from violence.

En dag om året borde alla låtsas
att döden vilar i ett vitt schatull.

Why don't we make believe just once a year
that Death has drowned beyond the deep blue sea.

Read the entire poem in Swedish or in translation by Laurie Thompson.

The Dagerman Award is given to a person who, or an organization that, in the spirit of Stig Dagerman, supports the significance and availability of the "free word" (freedom of speech), promotes empathy and inter-cultural understanding. The recipient receives 50,000 SEK from the Society in cooperation with Älvkarleby local authorities.

The Dagerman Society has gained much notoriety for giving the Stig Dagerman Award in June to no less than two authors (Elfriede Jelinek and J.M.G. Le Clézio), who later—in December—the same year, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature!

There are many well-known recipients of the Stig Dagerman Award like Swedish filmmakers Lukas Moodysson and Roy Andersson, as well as Turkish writer Yasar Kemal, the Iranian poet Ahmad Shamloo, and British journalist Gitta Sereny. The list goes on. For more info in Swedish, see www.dagerman.se.

Recipients

2013

Ingen Människa Är Illegal (No One Is Illegal)

Ingen Människa Är Illegal (No One Is Illegal) is a Swedish youth network whose mission is to help illegal immigrants to Sweden stay in the country. IMÄI receives the award because its members act in the deeply humanist spirit of Stig Dagerman; bravely going against the grain and incorporating methods of civil disobedience to show solidarity with those of us who are the most vulnerable and without rights. Read more.

2012

Nawal El Saadawi, Egyptian human rights activist, writer, and psychiatrist

Nawal El Saadawi receives the Dagerman Award as she through her life-long commitment is demonstrating the meaning of freedom, its goals and its obligations, thus provoking insight to all of us into the essence and price of freedom.

2011 Judit Benedek/SOS Romer
2010 Eduardo Galeano, Uruguyan writer, poet, journalist and activist
2009 Birgitta Wallin, translator, and editor of the intercultural Swedish magazine “Karavan”
2008

J.M.G. Le Clézio, French writer

Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio fills the white paper of his books with the most beautiful combinations of words that spring from an acute awareness of the unjust and unnecessary conditions of the most vulnerable and rejected of people. In his literary testimony, we can all see ourselves, our time, our place, our own vulnerability and our freedom.

2007 Lasse Berg, Swedish journalist
2006 Sigrid Kahle, Swedish journalist
2005

Göran Palm, Swedish writer

Göran Palm receives the Dagerman Award for his writing that has deepened and expanded the reach of free expression to voices that we have never before been able to be heard.

2004

Elfriede Jelinek, Austrian writer

Elfriede Jelinek receives the Dagerman Award because of her writing that so completely expresses our times. In her extensive text-surfaces Heidegger meets CNN and Greek gods are paired with modern day icons; her writing is one that borrows and steals, connects and breaks apart; writing where myth is deconstructed and even Disney's chipmunks get their own essay. Everything is executed through a frontal attack of language that allows surface to become depth and depth to become surface in order to provoke us to become participants, to take a position, to THINK.

2003 Lukas Modysson, Swedish filmmaker
2002 Gitta Sereny, British historian and journalist
2001 Elise Johansson, Swedish writer
2000 Roy Andersson, Swedish filmmaker
1999 Ahmad Shamlou, Iranian poet
1998 The Swedish Public ("People's") Library
1997

Yasar Kemal, Turkish writer

Writer and journalist Yasar Kemal receives the Dagerman Award for having used his words and language, relentlessly without compromise for half a century, as a possible human path toward lasting peace and freedom.

1996 John Hron, young victim of hate crime in Sweden

En dag om året

En dag om året

En dag om året borde alla låtsas,
att döden vilar i ett vitt schatull.
Inga stora illusioner krossas
och inge skjuts för fyra dollar skull.

Världskatastrofen sover lugnt och stilla
mellan lakan på ett snyggt hotell.
Inget rep gör någon broder illa,
och inge syster slumrar vid ett slutet spjäll.

Inga män blir plötsligt sönderbrända
och ingen dör på gatorna just då.
Visst är det lögn, det kan väl hända.
Jag bara säger: Vi kan låtsas så.

Just Once a Year

Why don't we make belive just once a year
that Death has drowned beneath the deep blue sea!
no one's life is undermined by fear,
and no one shoots his neighbor for a fee.

Tempests and floods have taken a vacation,
they're resting in some luxuary hotel.
Hangmen yawn and wait for inspiration,
and every gas tap's firmly closed as well.

No one's throwing bombs in crowded places,
no drunken driver's crashed into a wall.
- 'Course it's not true, don't pull such faces!
It's make believe and dreaming after all.

Stig Dagerman, February 23, 1954.

Translation by Laurie Thompson, Daily Doses, Lampeter, 1990.