The European Booksellers Federation (EBF), the European Writers' Council (EWC) and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) are delighted to announce that they have been appointed by the European Commission, DG Culture, to organise the European Prize for Literature (EUPL) to be awarded in autumn 2009.
Each year, between 2009 and 2011, 11 or 12 of the 34 countries participating in the EU Culture Programme will select their respective winner as emerging talent in the field of contemporary literature (fiction). The countries selected for 2009 are Austria, Croatia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden.
The aim 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. There will also be an award to a well-known European literary personality to take on the role of ‘European Ambassador of Literature’ for a one-year period.
The role of the consortium will be the co-ordination of the initiative, the setting up of national juries and the practical organisation of the award ceremony.
The European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Mr Ján Figel, said: “Books are an essential part of our history and the intellectual heritage of Europe. They reflect the particularity and the diversity of cultures as well as their common origins, and they promote intercultural dialogue. I welcome this new European Union prize, as it will help publicise and promote Europe’s richness and cultural diversity. The fact that it will be awarded for the first time in 2009 is excellent timing, since 2009 is designated as the European Year of Creativity and Innovation” [Press Release IP/08/1856, 2.12.2008]. EBF President, John Mc Namee, commented: “It is a very important step by the European Union to recognize the value of emerging talents which otherwise may not receive recognition or attention”.
EWC President John Erik Forslund explained that “this is a much longed for initiative giving possibilities for new findings and new awareness of our rich European contemporary literatures”, while FEP President Federico Motta added: "Due to the central role of literature in our common European cultural heritage, I am particularly pleased that together with the Commission and our natural partners, the writers and the booksellers, we will be organising this Prize and hence, increase visibility of writers from all over Europe". The prize is financed through the Culture Programme of the European Union. The programme supports transnational 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 for the audiovisual, for which a separate programme exists.
For further information:
About the Culture programme: