New €20k prize to celebrate European 'literary richness'

New €20k prize to celebrate European 'literary richness'

The British Council and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have launched a €20,000 literature prize to promote the “extraordinary richness” of the culture and history of the bank’s countries.

The EBRD Literature Prize will be awarded to the year’s best work of literary fiction translated into English and originally written in any language of the EBRD’s 37 countries of operations, from a UK publisher.

The first prize, worth €20,000, will be equally divided between the winning author and translator. Two runners-up and their translators will receive a prize of €1,000 each.

The award aims to highlight the importance of the writers in reflecting the aspirations and challenges faced by people in these regions.

The judges include the chair, broadcaster and journalist Rosie Goldsmith, senior research fellow Peter Frankopan who is based at Oxford’s Worcester College, as well as poet and writer, Gabriel Gbadamosi, and Lucy Hannah, a producer and writer, who founded the Commonwealth Writers programme.

Goldsmith, also the chair of the European Literature Network, said: “With the EBRD Literature Prize, the first such prize in the UK, we have an unrivalled opportunity to discover and share the best European literature in English translation – and to move beyond, to literature from Central Asia and Northern Africa.”

EBRD president Sir Suma Chakrabarti said: “We are hoping for many submissions in line with the rich cultural heritage and contemporary arts scene in our countries of operations.”

The judging panel will announce a shortlist of five books in early 2018 before publicising the names of the three finalists who will be invited, along with their translators, to an awards ceremony at EBRD headquarters in London in April 2018 and an event at The London Book Fair.

Books up for consideration must be works of literary fiction written originally in any language – whether official or minority language – from any country where the EBRD invests and translated into English.

Submission may only be made by UK-based publishers for books translated for the first time in the period between 1 October 2016 and 30 September 2017. For more information, visit the EBRD website.