Prize Winner: Andri Snær Magnason
The Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason was born in Reykjavik in 1973. His novel Dreamland reached record sales in his home country and brought Magnason to international prominence. Dreamland is a polemic about the self-delusions of a nation: long before the financial crisis brought Iceland to the brink of ruin, Andri Snær Magnason warned of rampant turbo-capitalism and spoke against the sell-off of Iceland’s countryside to internationally active aluminium corporations. Dreamland made Magnason into ‘Iceland’s Al Gore’ and became the spearhead of a powerful yet non-ideological environmental movement.
The KAIROS selection committee explained their reasons for their choice as follows: ‘Andri Magnason has inverted the contemplative stance with which the writer has encountered nature for centuries, and has derived an active, fierce attitude from the praise and internalisation of nature. Poetry and environmental agency, aesthetic sensitivity and civil disobedience are not mutually exclusive in his work but complement each other.’
The prize-giving ceremony took place in the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg on 28 February 2010. The Icelandic singer Emiliana Torrini and other musicians from the laureate’s country participated in the event.
About KAIROS Prize
The KAIROS Prize is honouring European artists and academics from the fields of the fine and the performing arts, music, architecture, design, film, photography, literature and journalism. The award is designed to be given to individuals for artistic achievements, but also to producers, festival directors, publishers or gallery owners and other personalities who give important impulses to art and culture in Europe. The KAIROS Prize is endowed with the amount of 75.000 € and aims to honour outstanding individuals working with entrepreneurial spirit, persistence and creativity in the field of European culture and intercultural understanding.
The prize is named after the Greek god KAIROS – the god for “the right moment” –as it seeks to encourage and promote people at “the right time in their career”. It is neither an award for life time achievement nor a singular project, but rather seeks to identify early achievement, special work in progress as well as potential for future sucess.
The KAIROS Prize is awarded annually in Hamburg by the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. An independent committee decides on the awarding.
The current members of the committee are:
Christoph Stölzl (President Liszt School of Music, Weimar)
Christine Eichel (author and journalist)
Shermin Langhoff (artistic director Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin)
Heike Catherina Mertens (executive director Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House)
Monika Sandhack (ZDFkultur / 3Sat Kulturzeit)
Nike Wagner (artistic director Internationales Beethovenfest, Bonn)