The European Commission has announced a new European Union Literary Prize, financed by the Cultural Programme of the European Union, that will be awarded for the first time at the end of September 2009. Here’s some info from the press release:
The aim is to put the spotlight on the creative and diverse wealth of Europe’s contemporary literature, promote more circulation of literature within Europe and greater interest in non-national literary works. The first edition of the Prize will be awarded in autumn 2009.
The European Prize for contemporary literature will consist of an award to a European Ambassador of literature and a prize for a winning emerging talent from each of the participating countries in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.
The Federation of European Publishers working together with the European Booksellers Federation and the European Writers’ Congress has been selected to organize the selection process and the 2009 award ceremony.
Each year, 12-13 countries out of 34 (presumably a different configuration each time), will participate. This year, the following countries are involved: Austria, Croatia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, and Sweden. (Nice of them to include Norway, despite its not being a member of the EU.)
Twelve Polish authors and books have just been nominated for the award, the press conference having taken place earlier today in Warsaw. They are:
Dawid Bieńkowski, author of Nic (Nothing, WAB 2005)
Jacek Dehnel, author of Lala (Lala, WAB 2006)
Jacek Dukaj, author of Lód (Ice, Wydawnictwo Literackie 2007)
Ignacy Karpowicz, author of Cud (Miracle, Wydawnictwo Czarne 2007)
Artur Daniel Liskowacki, author of Mariasz (Matrimony, Forma Autorska 2007)
Dorota Masłowska, author of Paw królowej (The Queen’s Peacock, Lampa i Iskra Boża 2006)
Krzysztof Niewrzęda, author of Wariant do sprawdzenia (Option to Be Considered, Forma Autorska 2007)
Daniel Odija, Niech to nie będzie sen (Let It Not Be a Dream, Wydawnictwo Literackie 2008)
Tomasz Piątek, author of Pałac Ostrogskich (Ostrogski Palace, WAB 2008)
Janusz Rudnicki, Chodźcie, idziemy (Come, Let’s Go, WAB 2007)
Krzysztof Varga, author of Nagrobek z lastryko (Terrazzo Tombstone, Wydawnictwo Czarne 2007)
Michał Witkowski, author of Barbara Radziwiłłówna z Jaworzna-Szczakowej (Barbara Radziwill of Jaworzno Szczakowa, WAB 2007)
Last time I checked, it certainly seemed that more than one-twelfth of Polish authors were women; so how interesting that of all of them, only Dorota Masłowska is included here! (She is also the only one of these twelve to have a book so far available in English, though Witkowski is on the way—really.) In any case, the Polish part of the prize is being organized by the three European organizing bodies’ local member organizations: The Polish Book Chamber (Polska Izba Książki, a member of the FEP), the Polish Writers’ Union (Związek Literatów Polskich, a member of the EWC), and the Chamber of Polish Booksellers (Izba Księgarstwa Polskiego, a member of the EBF). The Polish jury that nominated these twelve authors is headed by Professor Jerzy Jarzębski, and includes Krzysztof Masłoń, Leszek Bugajski, and Jan Lus. More information, in Polish, here: http://rynek-polski.pl.