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Sir Tom Stoppard awarded prestigious Czech prize

Sir Tom Stoppard, a distinguished British playwright was awarded the Gratias Agit Award for the promotion of the good name of the Czech Republic abroad. The award was presented by Karel Schwarzenberg, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic at a reception hosted by Ambassador Žantovský at the Czech Embassy in London on October 12.

Gratias Agit, established in 1997, is awarded by the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs for the promotion of the good name of the Czech Republic abroad. The award was inspired by the legacy of Jan Masaryk (1886-1948), humanist, Czechoslovak Foreign Minister and Czechoslovak Ambassador to London. Among its laureates are prominent personalities such as US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, film director Milos Forman or entrepreneur Tomas Bata.

During the 1970s, Mr Stoppard became involved with speaking out against human rights violations in the countries of the Eastern Bloc and published articles supporting the dissident scene there. In 1977, as a member of Amnesty International, he visited the former Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, where he met with Vaclav Havel. Under the auspices of Charter 77, the Tom Stoppard Award was presented for the first time in Stockholm in 1983 for essayistic work by authors of Czech origin.

Sir Tom Stoppard works tirelessly to spread the good name of the Czech Republic in Great Britain. Czech-related themes occur in his plays, which often deal with the theme of rebellion against the totalitarian regime in the then Czechoslovakia, such as Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth (1979) or Rock 'n' Roll (2006).

Media enquiries to be addressed to David Steinke, press attaché of the Czech Embassy: david_steinke@mzv.cz, Tel.: 0272437917

Sir Tom Stoppard1

Sir Tom Stoppard

Sir Tom Stoppard