The 2013 Lenin Award and Robespierre Prize were given out on Saturday April 13th in front of a packed Varberg Theatre. The former to Maj Sjöwall, innovator of Swedish crime literature, and the latter to Gabriela Pichler, the filmmaker who had recently had great success with "Eat Sleep Die".
The award ceremony had the same form as before with Lasse Diding at the helm, speeches by Jan Myrdal and Cecilia Cervin and high-class music entertainment, this year by Spartacuskören and Sven Wollter. The Lenin bust of course had its place on stage and with two female award winners he was now wearing a red headscarf, which proved to be the beginning of a tradition. Jan Myrdal spoke about both Maj Sjöwall and Gabriela Pichler, and then it was time for Cecilia Cervin to make a larger exposition of Maj Sjöwalls and her deceased writing partner Per Wahlöös “Novel about a crime”. 2010 Lenin Award winner Roy Andersson gave a short speech to Gabriela Pichler, who was very pleased to be recognised by her idol in this way.
In her acceptance speech, Maj Sjöwall said she was “proud and stunned” to join the array of Lenin Award winners and continued: “I hope more people will be unruly bitches against the flow.” To the audience’s great cheer, Sjöwall declared: “I want to put up residence at Hotell Gästis and I think we should make Varberg a real fucking cultural centre! ”
Gabriela Pichler spoke in her speech about her background with parents who where labour immigrants to Sweden and the lack of political tradition. “I did not know what the ’68 movement was, and we did not go in any May Day parades. That’s why I made a proper run-up in my first film. There is a need for more disobedient people who can mess around a little extra, and I am more than willing to do that.” “Violence is born from a society that practices violence. What happened then was an expression of violence that had long been exercised against the lower classes of society and the third estate. And that in Sweden today there is a prize that raises offense and debate, I think is pretty good because that’s also what I’m doing in my film”, said Pichler on receiving an award named after Robespierre.
To the audience’s great appreciation, Sven Wollter performed during the award ceremony, with his inimitable voice and stage presence. Likewise, the Spartacus choir from Gothenburg with their traditional fighting songs. Bernt Andersson’s Chapel provided accompaniment and at the evening’s Lenin Award party they “electrified the masses” with the superb accordion of Bernt in the sing-along at Hotell Gästis. Beautifully singing Maria Stellas also contributed with a Greek song.