Sunjeev Sahota, author of the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted Year of the Runaways (Picador), is one of 12 authors honoured by the 2017 European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL).
The award, which recognises "outstanding new and emerging literary talents" across Europe, is worth €5,000 (£4,182.08) for each winner. It intends to highlight the "wealth of contemporary European literature", while drawing attention to the continent's "unique cultural and linguistic heritage".
The other 11 winners of the prize are Rudi Erebara (Albania), Ina Vultchanova (Bulgaria), Bianca Bellová (the Czech Republic), Kallia Papadaki (Greece), Halldóra K. Thoroddsen (Iceland), Osvalds Zebris (Latvia), Walid Nabhan (Malta), Aleksandar Bečanović (Montenegro), Jamal Ouariachi (the Netherlands), Darko Tuševljaković (Serbia), and Sine Ergün (Turkey).
The EUPL is organised by a consortium comprising the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), the European Writers' Council (EWC) and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), with the support of the European Commission. It is accessible to all the countries participating in Creative Europe, the EU funding programme for the cultural and creative sectors for 2014 to 2020.
Discussing the future eligibility of the UK for the prize following Brexit, a spokesperson for the EUPL told The Bookseller: "This will depend on the participation of the UK to the Creative Europe Programme. Today many non-EU countries participate in the programme, and so to the prize."
Malin Koch, president of the European Writers’ Council, said the prize highlights the "invincible nature of literary creativity".
"Each winner gives us, readers, insights and worlds to explore", Koch said. "Their works impel our imagination to grow and our minds to evolve. Europe needs these new talents. They offer a feast of languages, people, and stories, from words to worlds, through translations. The EWC is very proud to be part of the celebration of these new European writers."
FEP president Henrique Mota said: “For nine years, FEP and our partners EIBF and EWC, have been working hard to organize and promote European emerging talents in literature. I am very proud that this year again, we have been able to select twelve outstanding writers across our continent. I hope their books will meet many new audiences in Europe and beyond, and that thanks to European literature, we bring citizens closer to each other through better understanding.”
Jean-Luc Treutenaere, co-president of EIBF, added: “I am very happy, once again, to see that 12 emerging talents will be celebrated at the EUPL Ceremony. Many congratulations to them! Of course as a bookseller, I am looking forward to seeing their books in bookshops all over Europe, in original version and in translation. The EUPL has been increasingly successful over the years, thanks to the commitment of our three associations and the support of the European Commission. We must build upon this fantastic adventure.”
Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, high-level representatives of the European Parliament and of the Maltese Council Presidency of the EU will present the 12 winning authors with their awards during a public ceremony on 23rd May at Concert Noble, in Brussels.