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EBRD Literature Prize 2022: selected shortlist announced

By Jane  Ross

  • The Prize recognises the best works of literary fiction from the EBRD’s regions translated into English
  • Shortlist features work translated from 8 languages
  • Winner of €20,000 prize to be announced in June

The EBRD Literature Prize 2022, launched by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to promote translated literary fiction from its regions of operations, announces its selected shortlist today. 

This is now the fifth year of the EBRD Literature Prize which celebrates the very best in translated literature from the nearly 40 countries where the Bank invests: from central and eastern Europe to Central Asia, the Western Balkans and the southern and eastern Mediterranean.

The €20,000 Prize rewards the best work of literary fiction originally written in a language from one of these countries, which has been translated into English and published by a UK or a Europe-based publisher.

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. It is one of the few international literature prizes which recognises both the writer and translator in equal measure.

The independent panel of judges for the EBRD Literature Prize 2022 has selected 10 novels (from Belarus, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Poland, the Russian Federation, the Slovak Republic, Ukraine and Uzbekistan) that they consider outstanding works of storytelling. In total, 8 languages feature on the selected shortlist, which represents a fascinating mix of cultures from across the EBRD regions of operations.

Toby Lichtig, Chair of the Judges, said: “The judges and I are delighted with this selection, which showcases the wonderful variety of contemporary fiction emerging from Eastern and Central Europe and Central Asia. Our shortlist’s cast includes a detective housewife, a Soviet virologist, a Greek matriarch, a Slovakian teenager, a Kyrgyz storyteller and a Ukrainian teacher, all on missions of understanding, self-acceptance, self-expression and survival. From nineteenth-century Krakow to the war-torn Donbas, via Stalin’s USSR, post-communist Poland, transhistorical Prague and an otherworldly Carpathians, we encounter a mixture of styles and genres, all superbly rendered into English. With all eyes once again on this region, for the most devastating of reasons, the EBRD Prize is a reminder of the power of literature to communicate urgent experience and bridge human divisions.”

 The shortlisted titles, in alphabetical order by author, are:

Doctor Bianco and Other Stories by Maciek Bielawski, translated by Scotia Gilroy (Terra Librorum Ltd). Language: Polish. Country: Poland.

Birds of Verhovina by Adam Bodor, translated by Peter Sherwood (Jantar Publishing Ltd). Language: Hungarian.  Country: Hungary.

The Book of Katerina by Auguste Corteau, translated by Claire Papamichail (Parthian Books). Language: Greek. Country: Greece.

Red Crosses by Sasha Filipenko, translated by Brian James Baer and Ellen Vayner (Europa Editions UK). Language: Russian. Country: Belarus.

City of Torment by Daniela Hodrova, translated by Veronique Firkusny and Elena Sokol (Jantar Publishing Ltd). Language: Czech. Country: Czech Republic.

Manaschi by Hamid Ismailov, translated by Donald Rayfield (Tilted Axis Press). Language: Uzbek. Country: Uzbekistan.

Boat Number Five by Monika Kompaníková, translated by Janet Livingstone (Seagull Books). Language: Slovak. Country: Slovak Republic.

Karolina, or the Torn Curtain by Maryla Szymiczkowa (Jacek Dehnel/ Piotr Tarczynski), translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Oneworld Publications). Language: Polish. Country: Poland.

Just the Plague by Ludmila Ulitskaya, translated by Polly Gannon (Granta). Language: Russian. Country: Russian Federation

The Orphanage by Serhiy Zhadan, translated by Reilly Costigan-Humes and Issac Stackhouse Wheeler (Yale University Press). Language: Ukrainian. Country: Ukraine.

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 operates.

The Chair of the EBRD Community Initiative Steering Group, Edward Bannerman, said today: The EBRD Literature Prize reminds us of the wealth of creativity and cultures across our regions of operations, and highlights the role of storytelling in connecting us all and building bridges across borders. This cultural project, financed by the EBRD Community Initiative, provides a unique opportunity to shape the world’s perspectives of the diverse regions where we work.

The finalists (three authors and their translators) of the EBRD Literature Prize 2022 will be announced on 16 May 2022. All will be invited to attend the award ceremony at the beginning of June (date to be determined) where the winner of the EBRD Literature Prize 2022 will be announced.

EBRD Literature Prize hub

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