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June 24, 2017

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Algerian author Sansal wins German literary peace prize

BERLIN--Internationally acclaimed Algerian author Boualem Sansal on Sunday received the annual German Book Trade Peace Prize and said that people everywhere were rising up against dictatorship.

Sansal, 62, received the award for his open criticism of the regime in Algeria and his drive for "freedom of speech, culture and religion" in his native country, said Gottfried Honnefelder, president of the organization.

The author, who received the prestigious prize at a ceremony with 1,000 people at the end of the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's biggest gathering of publishers and authors, said there was a "global revolution" underway.

"People want genuine, universal democracy, without borders and without taboos ... people are rejecting dictatorships, extremism, the power of the markets, the suffocating grasp of religion," said Sansal.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle congratulated Sansal on the honor, which carries an endowment of 25,000 euros (US$35,000).

"This prize honors not only Boualem Sansal's literary work, but also his striving for peaceful and democratic change in Algeria," said the minister in a statement.

"In a time of great change in the Arab world, I hope that Boualem Sansal's vision of a free and democratic society in Algeria becomes reality," added Westerwelle.

The Francophone author's works include the award-winning "Le Village De L'Allemand" (translated as "An Unfinished Business").

The German Book Trade Peace Prize has been awarded each year since 1950.

Past winners include Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, Hungarian Peter Esterhazy and Czech writer and former president Vaclav Havel.

Last year's prize was won by one of Israel's best-known authors, David Grossman.

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