The Lenin Award
“A kick in the nuts aimed at the powers that be”. That’s how Lasse Diding describes the purpose of the Lenin Award that’s given out every year to an author or artist in Sweden, who operates with social criticism and in a rebellious leftist tradition.
Every year, Lasse Diding gives out the Lenin Award at Varberg Theatre. Photo: Olle Asp
With the prize money amounting to 100,000 SEK, the Lenin Award is one of the bigger cultural awards in Sweden – and without a shadow of a doubt the most contentious! In 2013, for example, the author Susanna Alakoski refused to accept the prize, while the award winner in 2014, Jan Guillou, said in his thank you speech that “I am surprised, this wasn’t part of my plan. But I also feel extremely honoured.”
The Robespierre Prize amounts to 10,000 SEK and should reward a young Swedish writer or artist, who operates in a critical spirit. Anyone can nominate a candidate for both the Lenin Award and the Robespierre Prize. The award winners are chosen by a committee led by Lasse Diding. The formal award ceremony normally takes place at the time-honoured theatre in Varberg and afterwards the festivities are held at Hotell Gästis.
The Lenin Award and the Robespierre Prize were founded in 2009 and 2010 by the Jan Myrdal Society and Lasse Diding, but today the latter stands alone behind the awards. The process of renaming the awards is described under the heading Jan Myrdal and the Lenin Award, and for those who are curious about the history of the Lenin Award, it is recommended to read Background to the Lenin Award.
Background to the Lenin Award
Jan Myrdal and the Lenin Award
The Robespierre Prize