The Fritt Ord Tribute
Simon Flem Devold
The Freedom of Expression Tribute is awarded to Simon Flem Devold for his ground-breaking involvement as an advocate of children’s voices, life experience and rights through the column “På skråss” (“On the Q.T.”) in Aftenposten, in which he often dealt with taboo topics.
Since 1984, Simon Flem Devold has written a column called “På skråss” in the national daily newspaper Aftenposten. He has been a pioneer in encouraging children and young people to write, expressing opinions, posing questions and sharing experiences. He had received between 100 000 and 200 000 letters by the time his final column was published on 9 June 2012.
Flem Devold has been fearless in dealing with difficult and controversial topics, be it disease and death at an early age, homosexuality, mental problems in children or the consequences of divorce. His treatment of such topics has been ground-breaking, provoking reactions and debate.
Flem Devold began his career as a journalist in Sunnmørsposten and later moved to Aftenposten. He has been featured on radio and TV programmes and has written a number of books. He made his debut in 1973 with the book The Boys and I, a collection of cameos about urban eccentrics. Other publications have dealt with topics such as schizophrenia, homeless persons and children’s encounters with death.
Since the 1950s, the prize laureate has also worked as a jazz clarinettist, not least in the Simon Flem Devold Quartet and in collaboration with pianist Tord Gustavsen.
Simon Flem Devold was born in Namsos in 1929 and he grew up in Ålesund.
The Tribute will be awarded to Flem Devold on Wednesday, 12 September, at the Fritt Ord Foundation’s premises. The Freedom of Expression Tribute acknowledges remarkable efforts to promote free speech, often in connection with current events. Tributes are bestowed when someone deserves them, without any constraints on their number. Tributes are accompanied by a cash award of NOK 100 000.