The Sonning Prize is Denmark’s largest cultural award (DKK 1 million) and is given every other year by the University of Copenhagen for commendable work that benefits European culture.
The nomination to the Sonning Prize states: “Orhan Pamuk’s largest contribution to European culture is his obvious challenge of the cultural boundaries and his clarification of the many possibilities that lie within crossing those boundaries.”
The award has been given in previous years to such authors, philosophers and artists as Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Günter Grass, Karl Popper, Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir, Arthur Koestler, Ingmar Bergman, Jürgen Habermas, Halldor Laxness, Laurence Olivier.
A recurrent theme of Orhan Pamuk’s authorship is the contrast between East and West. A contrast which, according to Orhan Pamuk, should be regarded as an advantage rather than a conflict to be solved. His work contains a strong belief in a Europe with fewer cultural boundaries, an inclusive Europe that does not choose between East and West but instead attempts to unite the two.