1969 Per Olov Enquist, Sweden: Legionärerna

1969 Per Olov Enquist, Sverige: Legionärerna
Ulla Montan

About the author

Per Olov Enquist grew up in the town of Hjoggböle in Västerbotten. His childhood was strongly marked by his mother’s pietism. Following his graduation from the University of Uppsala, he worked as a journalist and independent writer, made his debut with the novel The Magnetist's Fifth Winter and has since been a highly successful novelist, playwright and debater. He depicts his multi-facetted life in the excellent autobiography Ett annat liv, published in 2008.

About the winning piece

The Legionnaires is primarily a documentary novel about the events related to the extradition of Balts after the end of World War II, when Balts fighting for Germany were extradited from Sweden to the Soviet Union. But the narrative consists of several layers, as Per Olov Enquist uses the historic material to highlight problems and issues of his own time. He poses a number of questions: Is it actually possible to perform an unbiased study of an event? Must policies apply equally for all? What responsibility do individuals have in overall political decisions? These are questions that he continuously returns to during his works.

Legionärerna (The Legionnaires)

Published by: Norstedts 

Publication year: 1968

This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say

The novel is a qualified artistic expression of modern man's attempts to understand himself and his contemporary situation through a richly nuanced study of a complicated chapter in postwar Nordic history.