The names of the twelve European authors to receive the first ever European Union Prize for Literature were announced today by the European Commission, the European Booksellers Federation (EBF), the European Writers' Council (EWC) and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP). The prizes will be presented during an Awards Ceremony in Brussels on September 28th. In recognition of his oeuvre and literary success, famous bestselling Swedish author Henning Mankell has accepted the role of Ambassador of the European Union Prize for Literature for this year.
The Awards Ceremony on the 28th of September will be attended by the Commission's President José Manuel Barroso and the Commissioner for Education and Culture Ján Figel', as well as by the prize winning authors, this year's Ambassador of the European Union Prize for Literature Henning Mankell and many European personalities from the European book industry and cultural scene. It will be held in the Flagey Theater in Brussels.
Commissioner Figel ' said: "This prize spotlights the excellence of literary talents in Europe and all they have to offer. It underlines Europe's strength in the quality and creativity of its literary output. The prize is aimed at getting the works of new authors off the book shelves and into the hands and hearts of people across Europe".
EBF President John Mc Namee commented: "Today's prize announcements are the culmination of a lengthy collaboration between the European Commission, EBF, EWC and FEP. To have such a prize is wonderful for authors, publishers and booksellers. It's an opportunity to bridge cultural gaps within Europe and create a greater understanding of each other. EBF are delighted to be involved and look forward to future years working together".
"The creative writer is one of mankind’s best sources of richness. Writers give us the future by creating alternative ways of living, or by criticising and envisioning new realities. The European Union Prize for Literature is a celebration and acknowledgment of the work by prominent talents who constitute the driving force behind the classics of tomorrow", said EWC President Pirjo Hiidenmaa.
FEP President Federico Motta added: "Today's announcements highlight the fundamental role of all players in the book value chain: transforming wonderful acts of creativity by individual citizens of different European countries, with different languages and cultures, into works that are appealing to people across the whole continent and that contribute to increasing the diversified European cultural heritage".
The Awards Ceremony will follow the 'Culture in Motion' Conference – the conference presenting project results from the EU's Culture programme – and will precede the European Culture Forum on 29 and 30 September, which will bring together 600 interested parties from the field of culture. The authors and their works will then be presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October and other promotional activities will be take place throughout the year and in 2010.
Link to EC press Release