The EWC has withdrawn from the Consortium of the European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL) with effect from January 2022.
“The new EUPL concept does not promote multilingualism as key to the European language diversity, and is not following the principles of equal treatment for all participating countries”, says the EWC Board.
Brussels, 01 February 2022
From 2009 to 2021, the consortium selected by the European Commission to coordinate the European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL) was composed by the European Writers’ Council (EWC), the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) and the International and European Booksellers Federation (EIBF).
The EWC board has decided to fully withdraw from the organisation of the award in the course of a relaunch-process of selection procedures. For the first time since its inception, the EUPL, with the departure of EWC from the consortium, is no longer organised by all representatives of the book value chain: authors, publishers and booksellers. In the current cycle, only publishers and booksellers will be organising the EUPL.
The decision, hard to take for EWC, was necessary. Here is why:
Each year since 2009, on a rotating basis over three years, 12 to 14 countries nominated three to five writers and national winners with the participation of a balanced national jury from all book value chain stakeholders. All of these 12-14 national winners were awarded the EUPL, which aimed at recognising European language diversity and literary quality.
From 2022, only one winner and five “special mentions” of the European Union Prize for Literature will be chosen from the now only one proposal by each of the 12-14 participating countries. Furthermore, as the selection processes have changed considerably at national as well as pan-European level, the EWC Board concluded that the new EUPL concept does not promote multilingualism as key to the European language diversity, and is not following our convictions of equal treatment for all countries.
Discovering a wide range of new authors every year was a highlight for us and the core meaning of the EUPL. As this approach has now changed, the EWC no longer wishes to endorse this format.
We would like to thank all EWC members who, through their jury work over a decade, have contributed to making the diversity of voices and themes of their country visible. We would also like to thank the FEP and EIBF team and last year’s EUPL coordinators for their collegial cooperation.
The EWC welcomes any future formats of EU programmes that focus on its value principles of ensuring equal treatment, fostering multilingualism and recognition of writers’ achievements.
Say “no” to bad plans
Reactions from European authors’ organisations and former EUPL laureates support the EWC’s stance
“I am fully supporting this decision [of the European Writers’ Council], with all due respect to Nina George for the courage to say no to bad plans”, say Arno Jundze, Chair of the Latvian Writers’ Union in the feature of the international magazine Publishing Perspectives:
“Unfortunately, I had the opportunity to participate in the Zoom session, where the new format of the award was discussed. As the chair of the Latvian Writers’ Union and chair of the EUPL of National Jury of Latvia (2017, 2021), I can say that the new EUPL model for small countries’ literature such as Latvian, Lithuanian or Estonian, takes away any hope of receiving this award in the next 100 years.”
Read the complete article by Porter Anderson, Editor in Chief:
Los escritores europeos se retiran del European Union Prize porque da la espalda a las lenguas minoritarias: