Your Majesties, Your Royal Highness, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Article 2 of the Constitution of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation reads as follows:
“Within the context of the cultural traditions of Europe in general and the ideas of Erasmus in particular, the aim of the Foundation is to enhance the position of the humanities, the social sciences and the arts. The emphasis lies on tolerance, cultural diversity and non-dogmatic, critical thinking. The Foundation tries to achieve this aim by awarding prizes and by other means. A cash prize is awarded under the name of ‘Erasmus Prize’.”
In accordance with this article, the Board of the Foundation has decided to award the Erasmus Prize 2022 to Israeli writer David Grossman.
The prize is awarded on the following grounds:
The theme of this year’s prize has been titled ‘mending a torn world.’ In the wide field of literature no one embodies this theme more than Grossman. In his work he seeks to understand people from within, and to regard the other with love, transcending borders of war and history.
In a world dominated by serious tensions in which it often seems as if we don’t know how to relate to one another, his extraordinary storytelling brings the unknown and feared ‘other’ closer, transforming conflict, pain and suffering into something that offers consolation. In his numerous novels and essays, Grossman possesses an incomparable ability to mend a torn world.
The jury describes his body of work as a monument to the power of the imagination, which serves as a guide to ‘how to be human’.
He has demonstrated extraordinary courage in tackling uncomfortable political subjects, as well as themes such as friendship, living with the past, and the bonds that link generations. Whether his work deals with real conflict or the loss of humanity, hope, grief, or violence, it always goes beyond the particular to reveal universal human struggles.
Grossman, like Erasmus, is a true humanist: he lets us see humankind, naked and fallible, noble and monstrous in equal measure. His work changes the reader and his compassionate way of portraying characters serves as an inspiration to us all.