2016 EU Prize for Literature winners announced

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The winners of the 2016 European Union Prize for Literature were announced today at the European Commission. The award recognises the best new and emerging authors in Europe.

Literature and the free written word enable us to better understand ourselves and others – something that is today more important than ever. That is why we will keep supporting the translation, publishing, sale and reading of foreign literary works. - Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport

The European Union Prize for Literature is open to countries participating in Creative Europe.

Every year, national juries in one third of the participating countries -12 this time- nominate the winning authors. Each winner receives €5,000 and benefits from extra promotion and international visibility at Europe's major book fairs, including Frankfurt, London and Paris.

Publishers are encouraged to apply for EU funding to have the winning books translated into other languages to reach new readers.

The winners will receive their awards during a public awards ceremony at Concert Noble in Brussels on 31 May, in the presence of Commissioner Tibor Navracsics; Mrs. Silvia Costa, MEP and Chair of the Culture and Education Committee and representatives of the Dutch Presidency of the EU.

The EUPL is organised by the European and International Booksellers Federation, the European Writers' Council and the Federation of European Publishers, with the support of the European Commission.

The winners

Christophe Van Gerrewey from Belgium

Op de hoogte (Up to Date). De Bezige Bij, 2012


Christophe Van Gerrewey (b.1982) studied architecture at Ghent University and literature science at the Katholic University of Leuven. His PhD, 'Architecture: a User's Manual. Theory, Critique and History since 1950 according to Geert Bekaert' was published in 2015. He is a member of the editorial board of OASE, a Dutch journal on architecture, and of DWB, one of the oldest literary journals in Flanders. Since September 2015, he is professor of architecture theory at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Tanja Stupar-Trifunović from Bosnia and Herzgovina

Satovi u majčinoj sobi (Clocks in my Mother's Room). Zavod za udžbenike i nastavna sredstva, 2014.



Tanja Stupar-Trifunović was born in Zadar in 1977 and is a graduate of the University of Banja Luka. She writes poetry, columns and literary reviews. Her poetry has been translated into several languages, and she was shortlisted for the CEE Literature Award (for poetry) in 2008. Stupar-Trifunović lives in Banja Luka and works as the Editor of Putevi, a literary magazine.

Antonis Georgiou from Cyprus

Ένα αλπούμ ιστορίες (An Album of Stories). To Rodakio, 2014



Antonis Georgiou was born in Limassol, Cyprus, in 1969. He studied law in Moscow and works as a lawyer. He is a member of the editing committee of the literary magazine Anef. He was also in the editing team of the Theatre Diaries, a series of publications that illustrate the history of theatre in Cyprus. He is currently a postgraduate student of theatrical studies at the Open University of Cyprus. In 2006, he published a book of poetry, Πανσέληνος παρά μία (Full Moon Minus One), and a book of short stories, Γλυκιά bloody life (Sweet Bloody Life), which was awarded the State Prize for Short Stories. He has also contributed to several short story collections. Georgiou also writes plays, some of which have been performed by different theatre groups in Cyprus. His play My Beloved Washing Machine (2007) won the Theatre Prize of the Cyprus Theatre Organization and was included in its repertory. Antonis Georgiou is also the writer of the plays The Disease, 2009; Our Garden, 2011; La Belote, 2014; and I Was Lysistrata, 2016. His book An Album of Stories, published in 2014, was awarded the Cyprus State Prize for a Novel. It is being adapted and presented on stage in 2016.

Bjørn Rasmussen from Denmark

Huden er det elastiske hylster der omgiver hele legemet (The Skin Is the Elastic Covering that Encases the Entire Body). Gyldendal, 2011



Bjørn Rasmussen was born in 1983 and graduated from the Danish Playwright School in 2007 and from the Danish Writers’ School in 2011. He received the Montana Literary Award in 2011 for Huden er det elastiske hylster der omgiver hele legemet, was awarded a three year work grant from the Danish government in 2013 and received the Kultur Bornholms Literary Award in 2014.

Paavo Matsin from Estonia

Gogoli disko (The Gogol Disco). Lepp ja Nagel, 2015



Having started his literary career with self-published experimental avant-garde poetry books, Paavo Matsin has moved on to very tense and naturalistic prose writing. Loosely mixing history, fiction, fact and fantasy, alchemy and the esoteric with ironic but warm humour, his sharp, concise and exact use of words put more substance into his work than one might judge by volume alone. Matsin has received a number of prizes and acknowledgements, including the Criticism Prize of the cultural weekly Sirp in 2011, Siugjas Sulepea/The Serpent Pen Prize in 2012, as well as nominations for the State Cultural Award in 2012 and the Prose Book of the Year in 2014.

Selja Ahava from Finland

Taivaalta tippuvat asiat (Things that Fall from the Sky). Gummerus, 2015



Selja Ahava (b. 1974) graduated with a degree in scriptwriting from the Theatre Academy of Helsinki in 2001. She has written film scripts, a TV series and a radio play. She has also written works that combine text, space and performance. Ahava received a grant from the Laila Hirvisaari Foundation for her debut novel, The Day the Whale Swam through London (original title: Eksyneen muistikirja). The purpose of this annual award is to support accomplished Finnish authors who are still at the start of their careers to write high quality, poignant books. Her second novel Things That Fall from the Sky (original title: Taivaalta tippuvat asiat) was nominated for the prestigious Finlandia literary prize. Ahava lived in London for five years, having since settled in Porvoo, where she spends her time renovating an old wooden house and raising her children.

Nenad Joldeski from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Секој со своето езеро (Each with their own Lake). Templum, 2012



Nenad Joldeski was born in 1986 in Struga, Macedonia. He is a writer and author of two collections of short stories. His debut, The Silence of Enhalon, written in Macedonian dialect and slang, received the Novite Award from the publishing house Templum in 2009. His second book, Each with their own Lake, was published by Templum in 2012. He is also an editor of a collection of short stories dedicated to the Russian emigrant Dr Nikolai Nezlobinski titled Nikolaj (Fiction. Water. Truth). As a part of the art group Wezdensky, he adapted several screenplays for amateur theatrical performances. He is also a co-founder and one of the organisers of a festival for culture called DRIMON, which was established in 2013 and held annually in Struga. He was also a member of several teams that published online journals for literature, and for three years he was part of the team that was in charge of organising the prominent international poetry festival, Struga Poetry Evenings.

Benedict Wells from Germany

Vom Ende der Einsamkeit (On the End of Loneliness). Diogenes, 2016



Benedict Wells was born in 1984 in Munich. At the age of six, he started his journey through three Bavarian boarding schools. Upon graduating school in 2003, he moved to Berlin. There he decided against an academic education and instead started to dedicate his time to writing. In order to pay for his living expenses, he worked in several side jobs. In 2008, he published his critically acclaimed debut novel Becks letzter Sommer which gained him the Bayerischer Kunstförderpreis, a Bavarian arts and literature prize. The novel was adapted into a feature film and released to cinemas in 2015. His third novel Fast genial became very popular with readers and ended up spending several months in the German book charts. After years of living in Barcelona, Wells has recently returned to Berlin.

Gast Groeber from Luxembourg

All Dag verstoppt en aneren (One Day Hides Another). Op der Lay, 2013



Gast Groeber grew up in Hollerich, Luxembourg, where he went to primary school. After graduating from high school in 1980, he studied primary education at the Institut Supérieur d'Études et de Recherches Pédagogiques in Walferdange, Luxembourg. From 1982, he taught at a number of primary schools in Luxembourg City. Since 2007, he has been head of the Centre Technolink in Luxembourg City, a division of school administration, which is in charge of equipping schools with computers, internet and new technologies.

Claudiu M. Florian from Romania

Varstêle jocului. Strada Cetăţii (The Ages of the Game – Citadel Street). Cartea Românească, 2012


Claudiu M. Florian was born in 1969 in Rupea, Braşov County. He received a degree in German Studies at Bucharest University in 1994, an MA in 'Humanistic Interdisciplinary Studies in the German Language' at Bucharest University in 1996, and went on to obtain another MA in Contemporary History at Bielefeld University in Germany. From 2002, he worked as an employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, moving on to become Cultural and Press Attaché at the Romanian Embassy in Berlin from 2004-2009. Since 2010, he has held a key role at the Romanian Embassy in Bern, Switzerland.

Jasmin B. Frelih from Slovenia

Na/pol (In/Half). Cankarjeva Založba, 2013



Jasmin B. Frelih was born in Kranj, Slovenia, in 1986. His first novel Na/pol (In/Half) was published in 2013 by Cankarjeva Založba to considerable media attention and critical acclaim. It received the best literary debut award at the annual Slovenian Book Fair, was shortlisted for the novel of the year and book of the year awards, and was showcased as the Slovenian entry for the 2014 European First Novel Festival in Budapest, Hungary. His short story collection Ideoluzije (Tiny Ideologies) was published by LUD Literatura in 2015. In his five years as a prose fiction editor for the literary review I.D.I.O.T., he worked with some of the best writers and poets of the new Slovenian literary generation. His short fiction, essays and translations of American authors appear in the leading Slovenian literary reviews Sodobnost, Literatura, and Dialogi. His translations of Slovenian poetry into English have been published in Banipal, Versopolis, and international anthologies of the I.D.I.O.T. literary review.

Jesús Carrasco from Spain

La tierra que pisamos (The Earth We Thread). Seix Barral, 2016



Jesús Carrasco was born in Badajoz in 1972. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and has worked, among other things, as a grape-picker, a washer-up, a physical education teacher, a music manager, an exhibition fitter, a graphic designer and an advertising copywriter. He took up writing after moving to Madrid, in 1992. Over the years, he has kept diaries and has written short stories, two books for children and one novel, and has grown as a reader. In 2005, he published an illustrated book for first-time readers, and that very same year, he moved to Seville, where he currently lives. In 2013, his first novel, Intemperie, made a stunning debut on the literary scene. Carrasco received the Book of the Year Award from the Association of Madrid Booksellers, the Award for Culture, Art and Literature from the Fundación de Estudios Rurales, the English PEN Award and the Prix Ulysse for the best first novel. He was also short-listed for the European Literature Award in the Netherlands, the Prix Méditerranée Étranger in France and the Dulce Chacón, Quimera, Cálamo and San Clemente awards in Spain.