EBRD launches its first literature prize

The EBRD, in partnership with the British Council, is launching a literature prize to recognise and promote the extraordinary richness, depth and variety of culture and history in the countries where the Bank invests. The award aims to underscore the importance of writers in reflecting the aspirations and challenges facing people across these regions. The EBRD will work in partnership with the British Council in organising the competition and award ceremony at the Bank in the spring of 2018, and an event at The London Book Fair.  

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 Morocco to Mongolia and from Estonia to Egypt, and published by 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.

This year’s judges for the inaugural prize will be:

  • Rosie Goldsmith (Chair of the Judging Panel), broadcaster and journalist; founder and chair of the European Literature Network
  • Peter Frankopan, Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford; Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research; commentator and author
  • Gabriel Gbadamosi, poet, playwright, novelist, and radio presenter; former fellow for creative writing, Cambridge University
  • Lucy Hannah, writer, producer and digital content creator; founded the Commonwealth Writers programme

Jury Chair Rosie Goldsmith said: “Europe has always been central to my life and work. Discovering and sharing its many languages and literatures is a personal joy and mission. 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. This prize could not come at a better time for the UK and the EBRD countries of operations. I am incredibly proud to be the first chair of judges for this first ever EBRD Literature Prize”.

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti added: “We are very proud and happy to launch the EBRD Literature Prize today. Our thanks go to our partners and to our judges. They have taken on a task which I am sure will be fascinating, enriching and absorbing. 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. All three finalists and their translators will be invited to London to participate in an awards ceremony and discussion at EBRD headquarters 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.

The deadline for submission is 31 October 2017. Find out more about the competition.

The EBRD was established in 1991 to support the development of market economies and the private sector in the countries where it operates. The Bank combines investments with policy dialogue and, through activities like its Community Initiative, also reaches out to support local societies and knowledge about EBRD countries.


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