Milo Rau wins Gerty Spies Literature Prize 2020| 31 March 2020
The Gerty Spies Literature Prize 2020 goes to Milo Rau, as announced yesterday by the jury: "especially in today's world, where racism, anti-semitism and extremism threaten people and society, including terrorist attacks, a clear positioning of society and art for humanity and political commitment is more necessary than ever", said the jury in her statement.
The prize rewards literature and art that deals with socio-political issues. Milo Rau is the first director and playwright to receive this award. In 2017 the prize was last awarded to the writer Ralf Rothmann. Former winners are Navid Kermani, Juli Zeh, Günter Wallraff, Eva Menasse and Christoph Hein.
Art and theatre have always been political, from the theatre of the Greek Antiquity to Friedrich Schiller and Bertolt Brecht. Augusto Boal, Thomas Bernhard, Christoph Schlingensief and Heiner Müller also strung the two together. Today it is director and author Milo Rau, who combines politics and reality with theatre, literature and art in a diverse and impressive way. You could say that for him, art is a pacifist weapon in the struggle for more humanity.
The fact that Milo Rau uses the means of art to address controversial subjects is in line with the aim of political education to address controversial subjects in addition to historical-political education. In the future, political education must continue to explore new avenues in order to reach new and additional target groups, and this can also be done through theatre. "After all, the theatre is often ahead of political education and politics here," says Bernhard Kukatzki, director of the State Office for Civic Education of Rheinland-Pfalz, on behalf of the jury of the Gerty Spies Literature Prize 2020.
The award ceremony is scheduled for 24 May 2020, subject to further developments regarding the corona crisis.
The literature prize is named after the writer Gerty Spies, who was born in Trier in 1897 and deported as a Jew to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. There she began to write, also to survive spiritually. Gerty Spies died on 10 October 1997 in Munich at the age of 100. The Gerty Spies Literature Prize is now awarded every two years, to underline the importance of the prize.