Handke Prize Stirs Debate
Does the avant-garde Austrian author Peter Handke deserve the $50,000 Heinrich Heine Prize for literature, or should he be disqualified because of his sympathies for the Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, who died in March in The Hague while on trial for genocide and war crimes? Fritz Kuhn, a parliamentary leader of the Green Party in Germany, said it would be a "scandal" to honor Mr. Handke, Agence France-Presse reported. Mr. Kuhn urged the city of Dusseldorf, the sponsor of the award, to overrule the jury. But Joseph Kruse, director of the Heinrich Heine Institute, who described Mr. Handke as "increasingly lost," said it might be counterproductive to "treat him as though he has the plague." The prize is to be awarded on Dec. 13 but must first be confirmed in June by the Dusseldorf authorities. Last month the Comedie-Francaise, citing his Milosevic support, canceled plans to produce a Handke play.