EBRD Literature Prize

Past winners

2022

The Orphanage by Serhiy Zhadan, translated by Reilly Costigan-Humes and Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler is the winner of the EBRD Literature Prize 2022. Published by Yale University Press, and set in contemporary eastern Ukraine, the book is a raw, compelling story of a civilian’s desperate journey through conflict zones to reach home.   Toby Lichtig, Chair of the judging panel said:” The Orphanage was timely when it first appeared in Ukrainian in 2017, it was timely when it first appeared in Reilly Costigan-Humes and Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler’s excellent translation last year, and it is even more grimly timely now.”

2021

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”.

2020

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”.

2019

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.

2018

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 Türkiye. It also attracted events at the London Book Fair and Hay Literary Festival.