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Brussels, 11 October 2011

Frequently Asked Questions: European Union Prize for Literature

When was the Prize launched and why?

The European Union Prize for Literature was launched by the European Commission in 2009. Its aim is to highlight the creativity and diverse wealth of Europe’s contemporary literature, to boost cross-border sales of books and to foster greater interest in reading foreign literary works.

Europe's cultural and linguistic diversity is a tremendous asset, but it also presents challenges for authors and publishers who want their books to reach the widest possible readership. For example, the European Union has 23 official languages, around 60 regional and minority languages, and uses 3 alphabets (Latin, Cyrillic and Greek).

The Prize therefore also ensures the winning authors get priority for EU literary translation grants.

What are the main benefits of the prize for the authors?

As well as receiving a cash prize of € 5 000, the winning authors benefit from promotional activity at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the biggest of its kind in the world, and other European book fairs. The winning books also get priority when applying for EU literary translation grants. Since the Prize was launched in 2009, the EU Culture Programme has helped 19 winning authors to have their works translated into 12 languages, ranging from Bulgarian and Italian to Czech and Slovenian.

The EU has an annual budget of € 3 million for literary translation and supports the translation of hundreds of books each year. Since 2007, it has contributed towards the costs of translating more than 2000 literary works. Grants worth up to € 60 000 are available for publishing houses or publishing groups for the translation of fiction in all its forms (poetry, novels, tales, comic strips, plays etc.).

Who organises the prize?

The European Union Prize for Literature is organised each year for the European Commission by a consortium made up of the European Booksellers' Federation (EBF), the European Writers’ Council (EWC) and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP). The consortium is responsible for organising the national juries, the award ceremony and other promotional activities.

Who can participate?

The Prize is reserved for works of fiction by emerging authors, regardless of their age. Twelve countries participate every year, with one winner per country being chosen by national juries. Over a three-year cycle, all 36 European countries participating in the Culture Programme are covered. The choice of countries each year reflects Europe's diversity – with a mix of big and smaller Member States, different language groups and different geographical areas.

Who were the previous winners?

The winners in 2009 were: Paulus Hochgatterer (Austria), Mila Pavicevic (Croatia), Emmanuelle Pagano (France), Szécsi Noémi (Hungary), Karen Gillece (Ireland), Daniele Del Giudice (Italy), Laura Sintija Černiauskaitė (Lithuania), Carl Frode Tiller (Norway), Jacek Dukaj (Poland), Dulce Maria Cardoso (Portugal), Pavol Rankov (Slovakia) and Helena Henschen (Sweden).

The winners in 2010 were: Peter Terrin (Belgium), Myrto Azina Chronides (Cyprus), Adda Djørup (Denmark), Tiit Aleksejev (Estonia), Riku Korhonen (Finland), Iris Hanika (Germany), Jean Back (Luxembourg), Răzvan Rădulescu (Romania), Nataša Kramberger (Slovenia), Raquel Martínez-Gómez (Spain), Goce Smilevski (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).

Does the EU award other prizes for culture?

The European Union Prize for Literature is one of four prizes awarded as part of the EU Culture Programme - the others are for architecture, cultural heritage and popular music.

For more information:

See also: Winners of the 2011 European Union Prize for literature (IP/11/1176)

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