Magdalena Parys, a Gdańsk-born poet, writer and translator who lives in Berlin, is among the winners of the 2015 European Prize for Literature (EUPL). The list of laureates was announced on 14th April during the opening ceremony of the London Book Fair.
Magdalena Parys was born in Gdańsk, but has lived in West Berlin, where her mother emigrated, since 1984. She studied Polish philology and pedagogy at Humboldt University. She has published two novels: Tunel / Tunnel (2011) and Magik / Magician (2014), both related to German topics. Her second book, recently distinguished by the European Commission, is a story about a “Bulgarian trace” in the criminal activity of the Stasi, but first and foremost, it’s about Poles living in Berlin.
I am shocked and I have to pinch myself to see if it's true. This award opens my way to France, Germany and England.
– said the author on Radio Gdańsk.
The aim of the European Prize for Literature is to put the spotlight on the diverse creativity and wealth of Europe’s contemporary literature to promote its circulation within Europe and encourage greater interest in non-national literary works. This year’s twelve laureates are:
- Karolina Schutti (Austria)
- Luka Bekavac (Croatia)
- Gaëlle Josse (France)
- Donal Ryan (Ireland)
- Rusałka Radzevičiūtė (Lithuania)
- Ida Hegazi Høyer (Norway)
- Magdalena Parys (Poland)
- David Machado (Portugal)
- Svetlana Žuchová (Slovakia)
- Sara Stridsberg (Sweden)
- Edina Szvoren (Hungary)
- Lorenzo Amurri (Italy)
My warmest congratulations to the winners of the European Union Prize for Literature! This unique prize is the only book award dedicated to the best emerging authors from all over Europe, regardless of their country of origin or language. With this prize and our continued support for translations of literary works, we are helping literature cross borders and enabling readers to enjoy the wealth of writing talent we have. This is crucial: Literature opens the mind, allowing us to come closer together and understand each other better, which is now more vital than ever.
Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport said.
The European Prize for Literature (EUPL), supported by the European Commission, has been awarded since 2009 by a consortium selected by the Commission to coordinate the initiative: the European Booksellers Federation (EBF), the European Writers' Council (EWC) and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP). The competition is open to the 37 countries currently involved in the EU Culture Programme. Each year, national juries in a third of the participating countries nominate their winning authors, making it possible for all countries and language areas to be represented over a three-year period. The competition is organised locally, but the award presentation and promotion of awarded works has an international character and involves the whole of Europe.
Since the prize was launched in 2009, the EU had, before the end of 2014, provided funding for the translation of books by 56 (out of 59) EUPL winners, into 20 different European languages, covering a total of 203 translations – on average 3-4 translations per book. The winners are promoted at the Frankfurt and London book fairs and at the Porta festival in Brussels, which gives them a unique chance to present their output on an international level. Thanks to this distinction the authors (or their publishers) have priority in applying for donations for translations from the European funds. The first Polish author awarded with the European Prize for Literature was Jacek Dukaj (2009) for his book Ice (Wydawnictwo Literackie). In 2012 the prize was presented to Piotr Paziński for his novel The Boarding House (Wydawnictwo Nisza).
Each winner receives €5,000. More importantly, they benefit from extra promotion and international visibility. Publishers are encouraged to apply for EU funding to have the winning books translated into other languages to reach new readers.
The twelve winners will be presented with the award during a ceremony at Concert Noble in Brussels on 23rd June, 2015.
I wish for the 12 winners of the 2015 EUPL edition to be translated into many European languages and to find new readers across the continent. I know that European publishers are increasingly awaiting this announcement to find the new voices of Europe.
– added Pierre Dutilleul, President of the Federation of European Publishers.
The countries currently participating in Creative Europe are: the 28 EU Member States plus Norway, Iceland, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. More countries are likely to join in 2015.
Author: Janusz R. Kowalczyk, Euprizeliterature.eu, Radio.gdansk, transl. Agata Dudek, 15/04/15.