The EBRD Literature Prize champions the literary richness of our regions of operations, which include almost 40 countries stretching from Morocco to Mongolia, Estonia to Egypt. The Prize also aims to illustrate the importance of literary translation and to introduce the depth and variety of the voices and creativity from these regions to the English-speaking public and a wider global audience.
The international prize was created in 2017 by the EBRD with funding provided by the members of the EBRD, in cooperation with the British Council.
The €20,000 prize is split between the author and translator.
The prize has already introduced English-language readers to a wide range of literature from countries as diverse as Albania, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Lativia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Russia, Turkey and Uzbekistan.
Past winners of the EBRD Literature Prize
The King of Warsaw, a novel by writer Szczepan Twardoch and translated from Polish by Sean Gasper Bye was the winner of the EBRD Literature Prize 2021. Published by Amazon Crossing, the novel evokes late 1930s Warsaw as a world of violence and fast-living, criminal fraternities and political turmoil. Toby Lichtig, Chair of the judging panel, described it as “at once a pulp thriller, a linguistic feast, a historical tapestry and a devastatingly clever excavation of memory.
Read the press release
Read an interview with the winners by Vanora Bennett
Devilspel, a novel by Grigory Kanovich and translated from Russian by Yisrael Elliot Cohen, won the EBRD Literature Prize 2020. Published by Noir Press, Devilspel evokes the lost world of Lithuanian Jews during the Second World War. Rosie Goldsmith, Chair of the independent judging panel for the EBRD Literature Prize 2020, described the winning novel as “a literary microcosm of world history related through the lives of ordinary people.
Read the press release
Read an interview with the winners
The Devils’ Dance, a novel by Hamid Ismailov and translated from Uzbek by Donald Rayfield (with John Farndon) won the EBRD Literature Prize 2019. Published by Tilted Axis Press, The Devils’ Dance is the first novel translated from Uzbek into English. The judges were Rosie Goldsmith (Chair), Gabriel Gbadamosi, Ted Hodgkinson and Samantha Schnee. In the wake of the announcement of the winner, the writer and translators of The Devils’ Dance took part in a series of events with the Chair of Judges, Rosie Goldsmith, at the British Library, Blackwells Oxford and the Hay Literary Festival.
Istanbul, Istanbul, a novel by the Turkish author Burhan Sönmez and his translator Ümit Hussein won the first EBRD Literature Prize in 2018. The judges were Rosie Goldsmith (Chair), Peter Frankopan, Lucy Hannah, and Gabriel Gbadamosi. This first edition of the EBRD Literature Prize attracted a wealth of submissions and introduced readers to a wide range of literature from countries as diverse as Albania, Croatia, Morocco, Russia and Turkey. It also attracted events at the London Book Fair and Hay Literary Festival.
About the EBRD Literature Prize
The EBRD Literature Prize recognises the extraordinary cultures, history and creativity in the Bank’s regions, which span across central and eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Western Balkans, Turkey, the southern and eastern Mediterranean and northern Africa.
The Prize is awarded to the year’s best work of literary fiction translated into English, originally written in any language of the EBRD’s nearly 40 countries of operations and published for the first time by a Europeam (including UK) publisher in the period captured by the Prize.
The EBRD Literature Prize is a project of the Bank’s Community Initiative, a programme which provides a framework for the engagement of staff and the institution in philanthropic, social and cultural activities in the regions where the Bank works.
The Prize is worth €20,000 and is equally divided between the winning author and translator. So, it not only rewards the writer who brings stories from these countries to life, but just as importantly, acknowledges the vital role that the translator plays in making these stories accessible to English-speaking audiences. The two runners-up and their translators receive a prize of €4,000 each.