The first edition of the European Union Prize for Literature saw 12 emerging European authors being awarded the prize during a ceremony held at the Flagey Theatre in Brussels, which was attended by some 800 people from the European cultural scene. President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and Swedish writer Henning Mankell kicked off the event with a dialogue on literature. They concluded that the key value of this prize will be its ability to facilitate the spreading of literature across borders in Europe and beyond.
Other than President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and EUPL Ambassador for this year Henning Mankell, the Awards Ceremony was attended by Swedish Minister for Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth as well as the prize winning authors and a great number of the participants in this week's "Culture in Motion" conference, where cultural projects funded by the European Commission took the stage prior to the Awards Ceremony.
The European book sector is an important driver of creativity and generates significant revenues as well as stimulating growth and creating jobs in the EU. Its estimated sales revenues are of around €23 billion per annum, for example.
Unlike other existing book prizes, the new EUPL highlights and promotes the full extent of the European literature's diversity. The prize will be awarded to 11 or 12 authors over a period of three years (2009, 2010 and 2011), so that a full cycle will see a winner from each of the 34 countries participating in the Culture Programme. The award spotlights emerging talent and aims to stimulate the circulation of their books across Europe ; it also contributes to shaping awareness of and openness to literature from abroad.
Winners' portraits: http://ec.europa.eu/culture/glance/glance2388_en.htm
Events at a glance: http://ec.europa.eu/culture/glance/glance2377_en.htm