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EBRD Literature Prize 2023: three finalists revealed

By Lucia Sconosciuto

  • Judges select translated literary fiction finalists for the EBRD Literature Prize 2023
  • Three finalists’ books originally published in the Czech Republic, Lebanon and Poland 
  • Winner and runners-up to be announced on 15 June 

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is delighted to announce the three finalists for the EBRD Literature Prize 2023, as selected by this year’s independent group of judges, Toby Lichtig (Chair), Maya Jaggi, Arkady Ostrovsky and Natasha Randall.

Since 2017, the EBRD has awarded this unique international prize to both authors from countries where the Bank operates and their English-language translators. It acknowledges and promotes cultural diversity and the abundance of literary expression in countries from central and eastern Europe to Central Asia, the Western Balkans and the southern and eastern Mediterranean. It also celebrates the important role that translators play in bridging different cultures. 

The three best works of translated literature submitted for the Prize this year are (in alphabetical order, by author): 

  • Mister N by Najwa Barakat, translated from Arabic by Luke Leafgren (And Other Stories). Country: Lebanon 

  • The Lake by Bianca Bellová, translated from Czech by Alex Zucker (Parthian Books).  
    Country: Czech Republic 

  • The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from Polish by Jennifer Croft (Fitzcarraldo Editions). Country: Poland 

The €20,000 Prize is awarded to the best work of literary fiction originally written in a language of one of the countries where the Bank operates, which has been translated into English and published by a UK or Europe-based publisher in the previous year. The two runners-up receive a prize of €4,000. 

Toby Lichtig said: “My fellow judges and I would like to congratulate the finalists for their magnificent contributions to contemporary literature. We’d also like to offer thanks for such extraordinary, powerful and memorable reading experiences. Whittling our shortlist down was tough, as it always is, but these are three truly outstanding novels, with overlapping themes – devotion and rebellion, timelessness and historical contingency, free will and political power – and utterly distinct identities. Each would be a worthy winner in its own right. Choosing that winner is an even bigger challenge.” 

The EBRD Literature Prize is part of the Bank’s Community Initiative, which engages the institution and its staff in philanthropic, social and cultural activities in the regions where the EBRD operates. The winning author and two runners-up, along with their translators, will be announced on 15 June 2023 at an award ceremony to be held at the EBRD’s Headquarters in London. 


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