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Literary giant Chinua Achebe wins esteemed Peace Prize of the German Book Trade for 2002

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston and

The highly-regarded "Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels", the Association of Publishers and Booksellers of the Federal Republic of Germany, has awarded the "Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels" (Peace Prize of the German Book Trade) to the distinguished novelist, essayist and cultural historian Prof. Chinua Achebe.

In the statute of the Peace Prize it is declared: "The foundation is of service to peace, humanity and international understanding. This is expressed by awarding the Peace Prize to a personality who has in an outstanding degree contributed to the realization of the idea of peace particularly by his or her activity in the field of literature, science and art. The prize winner is selected irrespective of nationality, race and creed. The prize has been awardwed annually since 1950.

The prize is endowed with 15,000 Euros, an amount made up exclusively of donations from publishers and booksellers. The Peace Prize is an impressive indication of the book trade's commitment to serve international understanding by its activities. Never before has an idea developed and practised by members of a profession found such world-wide recognition.

According to tradition, the prize is awarded during the Frankfurt Book Fair. The Peace Prize is presented within the framework of a ceremony in the Paulskirche (St. Paul's Church) in Frankfurt, the meeting place of the "Frankfurt National Assembly" (1848) which was of historical importance for the democratic development of Germany.

The Peace Prize is run as a foundation. The prize winner is selected by a council of the foundation which makes its decisions independently and in confidential deliberation.

Normally the Prize is awarded annually, it may also be awarded posthumously." The council of the foundation accepts suggestions for the selection of the prize winner from everyone, but one may not suggest oneself.

The suggestions require a profound justification with a quotation of achievements and publications which prove the person suggested to be an eligible candidate for the Peace Prize.

The first person awarded with the Peace Prize was Max Tau in 1950. Since then the prize has also been awarded to Albert Schweitzer, Theodor Heuss, Ernst Bloch, Max Frisch, Astrid Lindgren, Yehudi Menuhin, Vaclav Havel, Mario Vargas Llosa and Fritz Stern, just to name a few. with Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels/wire reports

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