Twelve European authors will receive the European Union Prize for Literature

The names of twelve European authors to receive the first ever European Union Prize for Literature have been announced by the European Commission. The prizes will be presented during an Award ceremony in Brussels on 28 September. In recognition of his oeuvre and literary success Henning Mankell, the Swedish author, has accepted the role of Ambassador of the European Union Prize for Literature for the coming year.

The aim of the European Union Prize for Literature is to put the spotlight on the creativity and diverse wealth of Europe’s contemporary literature, to promote the circulation of literature within Europe and encourage greater interest in non-national literary works. The prize will be granted in three phases , in the years 2009, 2010 and 2011, with 11 or 12 winners each time. By 2011, a winner will have been announced for each the 34 countries participating in the EU Culture Programme.

The phases are as follows:

  • Phase 1, 2009 : Austria, Croatia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden.
  • Phase 2, 2010 : Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Finland, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.
  • Phase 3, 2011 : Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta, Serbia, The Netherlands, Turkey and United Kingdom.

In order to select the 2009 winners, national juries were set up to choose a talent in the field of contemporary literature (fiction) in their country. The value of the Prize is a lump sum of 5 000 Euros for each winner. Additionally, measures will be also taken within the Culture Programme to stimulate the translation of the winning authors' works.

The award ceremony on the 28 th of September will be attended by the Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso , the Commissioner for Education and Culture Ján Figel' , the prize winning authors, the newly-appointed Ambassador of the European Union Prize for Literature Henning Mankell, and many European writers, artists, publishers, editors and other personalities from the European book publishing and cultural scene. It will be held in the Flagey Theater in Brussels.

The Award Ceremony precedes the European Culture Forum, which brings together around 600 participants from civil society organisations active in the cultural field, Member States and EU institutions, in order to take stock of the progress being made in implementing the European Agenda for Culture. The European Agenda was launched in 2007, and is the first ever EU-level strategy for collaboration in the area of culture. It aims to foster intercultural dialogue, promote culture as a catalyst for creativity, and use culture as a vital element in the Union's international relations.

The prize is co-funded through the European Union's Culture Programmeand a Consortium consisting of the European Booksellers Federation (EBF), the European Writers' Council (EWC) and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP). The Programme supports trans-national cultural cooperation projects involving operators from a minimum of three different countries participating in the programme. It also provides specific support for the translation of literary works and is open to all cultural sectors except audiovisual, for which a separate programme exists.

The Programme also supports the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage, the European Prize for Contemporary Architecture (Mies van der Rohe Awards) and the European Border Breaker Awards (for debut artists who reach audiences outside their own country).

The first twelve winners of the European Prize for Literature are:

  1. AUSTRIA – Mr. Paulus Hochgatterer, by “The sweetness of life”
  2. CROATIA – Mrs. Mila Pavicevic, by “Ice girl and other fairy-tales”
  3. FRANCE – Mrs. Emmanuelle Pagano, by “Les adolescents troglodytes”
  4. HUNGARY – Mrs. Szécsi Noémi, by “Communist Monte Cristo”
  5. IRELAND - Mrs. Karen Gillece, by “Longshore Drift”
  6. ITALY - Mr. Daniele Del Giudice, by “Movable horizon”
  7. LITHUANIA - Mrs.Laura Sintija Černiauskaitė, by “Breathing into marble”
  8. NORWAY - Mr. Carl Frode Tiller, by “Encirclement”
  9. POLAND – Mr. Jacek Dukaj, by “ICE”
  10. PORTUGAL – Mrs. Dulce Maria Cardos, by “Os meus sentimentos”
  11. SLOVAKIA – Mr. Pavol Rankov, by “It happened on September the first (or whenever)”
  12. SWEDEN – Mrs. Helena Henschen, by “The shadow of a crime”