Polish writer on individual freedom to be awarded Jerusalem Prize

Prominent Polish writer Leszek Kolakowski will be awarded the Jerusalem Prize this year to honor his work for the freedom of the individual in society through his philosophical studies, the Jerusalem Municipality announced on Monday. The prize will be given at the Jerusalem International Book Fair opening ceremony on February 18 to be held at the International Convention Center. Kolakowski will be awarded a prize worth more than NIS 40,000. The event hosts both domestic and international writers and has been held in Jerusalem on a biennial basis since 1963, winning widespread recognition as one of the leading international book fairs. A panel of judges was comprised of Prof. Shlomo Avineri, Prof. Menahem Brinker and Dr. Michal Govrin. The panel said that for decades Kolakowski has offered moral inspiration through his fighting for the individual's freedom in society using personal experience and courage as a tool. Kolakowski's copious works include The Priest and the Jester (1959), a collection of essays that criticize all orthodoxy and dogmatism, and Towards a Marxist Humanism (1970), in which he stresses human freedom of thought and choice as essential to life. "I am honored and delighted for this extraordinary distinction," Kolakowski said. This year's book fair will be held between February 18-23. Admission to the fair is free, and Israeli publishing houses have promised significant book discounts at the fair.