John le Carré: The author's official website

John le Carré Receives Goethe Medal

John le Carré was granted the award, which is given to artists who support the German language in an extraordinary way, along with French filmmaker Ariane Mnouchkine and Polish journalist and human right activist Adam Michnik.

The website Deutsche Welle website reported on the awards which this year mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Goethe-Institut, a major non-profit organization dedicated to promoting German culture and language abroad:

“We’re getting back to our roots. Europe is and remains the basis of our work,” said Goethe-Institut President Klaus-Dieter Lehmann. The European Union is not just an economic entity, he added, and ignoring culture and language in the region just alienates citizens from politics. “We have to get away from a Europe of regulations,” said Lehmann.

John le Carré took a similar view. “We’ve lived in freedom for so long that our democracies are blemished” and populism is growing just as fast as social injustice, he warned. “Europe is in critical condition. The distance between the institutions and the people is bigger than ever before,” […]

Adam Michnik, on the other hand, takes a more positive view of the European Union, despite its flaws. Nevertheless, he conceded that “Europe could manage without a few of its politicians – but not without John le Carré’s books!” […]

Lehmann described le Carré as an author of great humanistic literature, a critical and astute observer of current affairs with a “feel for global shifts and turbulences” and a “great interest in other cultures.”

Lehmann also praised le Carré’s interest in the German language, calling him Britain’s most prominent German-speaking writer. The author learned German as a youth, then worked as a diplomat – and for the British secret service – in Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

[…] Now 80 years old, le Carré continues to write about current political issues, including terrorism, corruption, and the Mafia.

“He’ll never run out of material,” commented Lehmann.

Read the full article online here