The twelve winners of the 2012 European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL), which recognises the best new or emerging authors in the EU, were announced today at the Frankfurt Book Fair. They are: Anna Kim (Austria), Lada Žigo (Croatia), Laurence Plazenet (France), Viktor Horváth (Hungary), Kevin Barry (Ireland), Emanuele Trevi (Italy), Giedra Radvilavičiūtė (Lithuania), Gunstein Bakke (Norway), Piotr Paziński (Poland), Afonso Cruz (Portugal), Jana Beňová (Slovakia) and Sara Mannheimer (Sweden). Each winner (see details below) will receive € 5,000 and, more importantly, priority for funding from the EU Culture Programme to see their book translated into other languages.
The announcement video is available here.
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, declared: "My warmest congratulations go to all of this year's winners. We hope that the Prize will increase their visibility and renown, both inside and outside their home countries. Ensuring that literature crosses borders is not only good for authors and publishers, who want to reach new markets; it is also great for readers who have more choice and are exposed to works which they might never otherwise have come across. Our new Creative Europe programme will enable us to provide even more support to writers and cultural diversity in the future.
Supported by the European Commission, the European Union Prize for Literature is organised by a consortium made of the European and International Booksellers Federation (previously EBF, EIBF since 2012), the European Writers' Council (EWC) and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP). The EUPL is a great opportunity to enhance the creativity within the European Union and, as EIBF president John McNamee said, “celebrating emerging literary talents is a true delight for booksellers and it certainly allows the book chain to retain its value and bring European literature to citizens”.
This Prize is open to the 37 countries involved in the EU Culture Programme (27 EU Member States as well as Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia and Turkey). Each year, national juries in a third of the countries nominate the winner authors, so that all countries in the programme are represented over a three-year period. According to Anna Duennebier, Vice-President of EWC, "The EUPL presents the broad spectrum of new and important European authors. In a period when financial problems threaten to make citizens weary of Europe, literature can highlight the value of European tradition and the potential of the future."
Since the Prize was launched in 2009, the EU Culture Programme has provided funding for 32 of the 35 winners to have their books translated into different languages. To date, more than 100 translations in total, covering 19 languages, have received EU funding. The winners also benefit from extra visibility at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the London Book Fair and the Passa Porta festival in Brussels. Piotr Marciszuk, President of the FEP, said: "I am very proud that FEP got involved in the organisation of the European Union Prize for Literature. As Europeans, literature is one of the most fantastic doors to understanding each other. Each of the winning authors is contributing to the European construction by sharing his or her culture, imagination, passion with us, readers. I wish for all of them that their literature will appeal to colleagues all over Europe and that they will get many translations during this Fair and afterwards".
This year's winners will be presented with their awards and celebrated at a ceremony in Brussels on November 22nd, in the presence of Commissioner Vassiliou and leading representatives of the worlds of literature, culture and politics.
The European Commission invests € 3 million a year on literary translation and more than € 2.4 million on cooperation projects involving the book sector. The industry contributes € 23 billion to EU GDP and employs 135,000 people full time. Books are the second most exported cultural goods in the EU, after works of art and antiques.
Book publishing is a significant part of the cultural and creative sectors, which account for up to 4.5% of the EU's GDP and up to 8.5 million jobs. Although these sectors have proved relatively resilient in the crisis, they also face considerable challenges stemming from the digital shift, globalisation and market fragmentation along cultural and linguistic lines.
The Commission has proposed a new programme called Creative Europe to strengthen the competitiveness of these sectors and to promote cultural diversity. The Commission has allocated a total budget of € 1.8 billion for Creative Europe in the period 2014-2020, which represents a 37% increase compared with current funding levels. The programme will provide funding for the translation of more than 5,000 books; it will also support 8,000 cultural organisations and enable 300,000 artists, cultural professionals and their works to operate across borders and gain international experience (IP/11/1399).
On September 26, the Commission unveiled a strategy entitled "Promoting cultural and creative sectors for growth and jobs in the EU", aimed at increasing the export potential of these sectors, as well as to maximising their spill-over benefits for other areas such as innovation, ICT and urban regeneration. The strategy calls for measures to boost skills development, access to finance, promotion of new business models, audience development, access to international markets and improved links to other sectors (IP/12/1012).
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