The European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL) recognises emerging fiction writers from the European Union and beyond. Engaging the 41 countries participating in the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, the Prize celebrates 41 outstanding new literary talents across a cycle of three years. Spotlighting the creativity and the immense and diverse wealth of Europe’s contemporary literature in the field of fiction, EUPL aims to promote the circulation of literature within Europe and encourage greater interest in non-national literary works. The 2021 edition awards thirteen* laureates from the countries participating in this cycle.
We are pleased to announce this year’s thirteen* laureates:
- Albania: Enkel Demi (pen name Tom Kuka), Flama (Calamity), Publisher: Botime Pegi.
- Armenia: Արամ Պաչյան (Aram Pachyan), P/F (P/F), Publisher: Էջ հրատարակչություն (Edge publishing house).
- Bulgaria: Георги Бърдаров (Georgi Bardarov), Absolvo te (Absolvo te), Publisher: Musagena.
- Czech Republic: Lucie Faulerová, Smrtholka (Deathmaiden), Publisher: Nakladatelství TORST.
- Iceland: Sigrún Pálsdóttir, Delluferðin (Runaround), Publisher: Forlagið útgáfa (JPV).
- Latvia: Laura Vinogradova, Upe (The River), Publisher: Zvaizgne ABC.
- Malta: Lara Calleja, Kissirtu kullimkien (You've Destroyed Everything), Publisher: Merlin Publishers.
- Netherlands: Gerda Blees, Wij zijn licht (We are light), Publisher: Uitgeverij Podium.
- Portugal: Frederico Pedreira, A Lição do Sonâmbulo (The Sleepwalker's Lesson), Publisher: Companhia das Ilhas.
- Serbia: Dejan Tiago Stanković, Zamalek (Zamalek), Publisher: Laguna.
- Slovenia: Anja Mugerli, Čebelja družina (Bee Family), Publisher: Cankarjeva založba.
- Sweden: Maxim Grigoriev, Europa (Europe), Publisher: Albert Bonniers Förlag.
- Tunisia: أمين الغزي (Amine Al Ghozzi), زندالي ليلة 14 جانفي 2011 (Zindali, the night of 14 january 2011), Publisher: زينب للنّشر و التوزيع (Editions Zayneb).
The 2021 laureate for each country was selected by a national jury of experts in the fields of literature, publishing and bookselling. The 13 winning books and authors were revealed during a video broadcast on 18 May at 2:00 PM CEST. Their names were individually announced by a representative of each national jury.
Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and Graça Fonseca, the Minister of Culture of Portugal, congratulated the winning laureates.
Commissioner Gabriel said: “The EU Prize for Literature celebrates and promotes the incredible creativity and diversity that can be found in Europe’s contemporary literature scene. The immense value of literature is more apparent now than ever before. Having lived under the shadow of Covid for more than a year, books have become “essential”. Congratulations to the laureates!”
“My congratulations to all the award winning authors, who thus become part of this honourable list of winners of the European Union Prize for Literature. May their imagination continue to make our reality better through its works and talent,” said Graça Fonseca, the Minister of Culture of Portugal.
The EUPL is organised by a Consortium of associations comprising the European Writers' Council (EWC), the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), and the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), with the support of the European Commission.
“The European Writers’ Council warmly congratulates the nominees and winners of this year's European Union Prize for Literature! We thank you for your tirelessness to observe and tell about the world. You are not only the sources of the book value chain, but your works are the sources of democracy, cultural exchange, and a diverse European community,” said Nina George, President of the European Writers’ Council. “The EUPL 2021 is a special prize: it marks the beginning of a still unclear time "after". Let us enter these post-crisis years with optimism and accept the challenge to continue writing – and awarding – literature that is as diverse, surprising or unusual as possible.”
Peter Kraus vom Cleff, President of FEP, commented: “I firmly hope that the 2021 EUPL laureates will be able to meet their audience presently in their country and in the future all over Europe and beyond. Whether in person or online, the label EUPL has attracted many publishers and encouraged translations. Each translation is a vivid proof of Europe’s rich, diverse, and fascinating creative publishing landscape. The famous European writer and thinker Umberto Eco said ‘Translation is the language of Europe’. I would paraphrase him in saying that ‘Translation is the language of empathy’. As the President of the Federation of European Publishers, I am proud and happy that so many previous EUPL laureates have been translated in various European languages, finding new readers and this is what I sincerely wish to the 2021 laureates.”
Jean-Luc Treutenaere, co-President of EIBF, added: “The past year has been very difficult and challenging for many of us. Faced with a pandemic and the loss of access to many of our favourite and comforting cultural places, books have offered us solace, escape, and adventures. Being able to read diverse novels, from various linguistic and cultural backgrounds, is a great way to interact and get to know new characters, habits, and local cultures from the safety of our homes. The European Union Prize for Literature offers just that, and I am very pleased to offer my congratulations, on behalf of the European and International Booksellers Federation, to the 13 winning authors for this year. I am looking forward to exploring the worlds they’ve created and finding their novels on the bookshelves in bookshops across Europe.”
* After further consideration of the shortlist suggested by the Moldovan jury, the EUPL Steering Committee could not confirm the proposed candidates as emerging authors. Therefore, there will be no Moldovan laureate in 2021.