Shortlist European Literature Prize 2021

29 June 2021

Jury chair Manon Uphoff has announced the shortlist for the European Literature Prize 2021. Five titles have been selected, all of them contemporary European novels in Dutch translation. The prize is being presented this year for the eleventh time; it goes to both the author and the translator.

The professional jury has selected novels that, as it says, ‘tell stories about what it means to live, to exist, to feel and think in Europe. Books that continued to resonate with us in an extraordinary way and that clearly say something unforgettable about Europe.’

The five shortlisted Dutch titles are:

  • De jaren by Annie Ernaux, translated from the French by Rokus Hofstede (De Arbeiderspers)
  • Meisje, vrouw, anders by Bernardine Evaristo, translated from the English by Lette Vos (De Geus)
  • Langs de rivier by Esther Kinsky, translated from the German by Josephine Rijnaarts (Uitgeverij Pluim)
  • De reparatie van de wereld by Slobodan Šnajder, translated from the Croatian by Roel Schuyt (Wereldbibliotheek)
  • Herkomst by Saša Stanišić, translated from the German by Annemarie Vlaming (Ambo|Anthos)

Over the past few months the jury has read twenty novels translated from nine languages. ‘We were able to do so only because of the work of the translators, who have operated as conveyors of spirit and language: sensitive, passionate, seeking the word that is most apt, that corresponds most closely with the rhythm or the musicality, the choppiness, firmness or density, the actuality or complete fictionality of the source text. How grateful we are to them. How difficult or impossible it would otherwise have been for us to access these books.’

A jury of seventeen independent bookstores selected the longlist. The shortlist and the winner are chosen by a jury drawn from the world of literature and literary translation. The jury members are author Manon Uphoff (chair), critic Cyrille Offermans (De Groene Amsterdammer), literary translator from French Martine Woudt (2020 winner along with David Diop) and booksellers Marieke de Groot (Pantheon Boekholt bookstore in Amsterdam) and Marischka Verbeek (Savannah Bay Bookstore in Utrecht).

European Literature Prize

The European Literature Prize for the best novel translated last year from a European language into Dutch will be presented on 6 November 2021 at the Crossing Border festival in The Hague. The prize honours both the author and the translator of the chosen title, with the author receiving the sum of €10,000 and the translator €5,000.

Earlier winners include Ali Smith and Dutch translators Karina van Santen and Martine Vosmaer for Lente (Spring), David Diop and translator Martine Woudt for Meer dan een broer (At Night All Blood is Black), Arno Geiger and translator Wil Hansen for Onder de Drachenwand (Unter der Drachenwand), Johan Harstad and translators Edith Koenders and Paula Stevens for Max, Mischa & het Tet-offensief (Max, Misch & Tetoffensiven) and Max Porter and translator Saskia van der Lingen for Verdriet is het ding met veren (Grief Is the Thing with Feathers).

The European Literature Prize is an initiative of the Academic-Cultural Centre Spui25, the Dutch Foundation for Literature, the weekly De Groene Amsterdammer and Athenaeum Boekhandels. It is financed by the Lira Fonds, the De Lancey & De La Hanty Foundation and the Dutch Foundation for Literature.