Seven Eastern European authors have scooped awards at the 2021 edition of the European Prize for Literature.
The winning books include the surreal novel Flama (Calamity), by Albania’s Enkel Demi (who writes under the pen name Tom Kuka), which the jury praised for examining “from an anthropological point of view, the Albanian citizen of today.” Meanwhile, the Armenian prize winner, P/F by Aram Pachyan, uses Buddhist references to create a diary-like read from a Yerevan-dweller “struggling to accept the way his hometown has changed since his childhood”.
Slovenia’s winning work, Čebelja Družina (or Bee Family), by Anja Mugerli, counterposes national folklore and the inner workings of a family, while Absolvo Te, by Bulgarian author Georgi Bardarov, is a humanist plea for empathy, forgiveness and acceptance, as opposed to “social and ethnic separation, religious and political divisions and the rise of nationalism and similar extreme ideologies.” Among the other winners are the darkly humorous Deathmaiden by Czech writer Lucie Faulerová, the melancholic Upe (The River) by Latvia’s Laura Vinogradova, and the travelogue-like Zamalek, set in Cairo, by Serbian author Dejan Tiago Stanković.
Open to the 41 countries participating in the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, the contest aims to promote the translation and circulation of literature within the region. In order to qualify for the prize, the writers must be emerging artists with between two and four published works of fiction.