Breyten Breytenbach – one of the most appreciated authors writing in Afrikaans and a guest of the 5th edition of the Miłosz Festival, which took place last year – was chosen a laureate of the 5th Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award 2017, one of the most important distinctions in the world of global literature and poetry. The international jury announced that the combination of the outstanding artistic values of Breytenbach’s art, as well as his uncompromising moral stance and standing for those who suffer is a perfect embodiment of an attitude that was dear to Zbigniew Herbert.
Breyten Breytenbach has published more than fifty books, including collections of poetry, novels, and memoirs. In the 1960s, he was involved in a movement against apartheid policy in South Africa, when he was still living in France. In 1975, he entered South Africa using a fake passport, with the goal to help black Africans organize trade unions. He was arrested, accused of terrorist activities and sentenced to nine years in prison. Thanks to international protests, he was ultimately released after seven years. He fled to France and took French citizenship.
Since then, the artist has won numerous awards and prizes, taught at the New York University and exhibited his paintings in galleries around the world. Currently he divides his time between France and South Africa.
Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award is a distinction for achievements on the world stage – particularly in the field of poetry. It has been awarded since 2013 for outstanding intellectual and artistic achievements, referring to the ideas espoused by Zbigniew Herbert in his creations.
The award ceremony will take place on the 25th of May 2017 in Warsaw