Italian, Mexican Writers Win Palme Prize

Posted January 23rd, 2012 at 3:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Italian journalist Roberto Saviano and Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho have won the 2011 Olof Palme Prize, an international award for promoting peace and combating discrimination.

The Olof Palme Memorial Fund said Monday the two writers are co-winners of the prize for their efforts to expose criminal networks despite great personal risk.

Saviano won for his 2006 book, Gomorrah, which unveiled the workings of the Mafia in Naples and forced him to live under 24-hour police protection. Mexico's Cacho has received numerous death threats since publishing her 2005 book, Demons of Eden, about a child sex abuse ring involving business leaders.

Saviano also won Britain's 2011 PEN-Pinter International Writer of Courage Award.

The $75,000 Olof Palme prize is awarded annually for “outstanding achievement” in promoting peace and combating racism. It was created in memory of former Swedish prime minister Olof Palme, who was shot dead by a lone attacker in 1986.

Past winners include Czech dissident and former president Vaclav Havel, former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, and Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.