Culture: NOT FOUND - Open Letter to President-elect Ursula von der Leyen

European authors, publishers and booksellers are concerned about a Commission without a Commissioner for Culture and Education
Brussels, 18.9.2019

Dear President-elect Ursula von der Leyen,
We congratulate you on finalising the challenging task to form the future European Commission. On 10.9.2019, you, as President-elect, presented your team and the new structure of the next European Commission. For the first time since 1999, culture and education will not appear in the title of one of the Commissioners. From reading the mission letters which your colleagues received, these comprehensive areas of responsibility will fall as subordinate sections within the remit of the Commissioners-designate for "Innovation and Youth" (Mariya Gabriel, Bulgaria) and "Protecting the European Way of Life" (Margaritis Schinas, Greece).
The EWC, the FEP and the EIBF are deeply worried about this development. Giving up on culture and education as priorities is a demotivating signal that European literary and cultural policy could in future be treated as negligible.

“Communicating European values is an essential element of literature. A promoted and independent culture is the backbone of diversity and democracy. Culture should not be a political hobby, but a priority for Europe," says Nina George, President of the European Writers' Council.
“Having a high-level interlocutor specifically responsible for culture and the cultural aspects of any given European policy is a crucial asset for the all cultural sectors, including the book world. The European Treaties have enshrined the importance of culture: ‘The Union shall contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States, while respecting their national and regional diversity, and at the same time bringing the common cultural heritage to the fore (and) take cultural aspects into account to respect and to promote the diversity of its cultures.’ An ambitious Commission must count a Commissioner for culture and education”, underlines FEP President Rudy Vanschoonbeek.
“Culture is a fundamental European value which differentiates us, while bringing us together. Having a Commissioner whose portfolio title encompasses culture is more than just a name, it is the guarantee for all creative and cultural industries, including the book sector, that culture be brought at the forefront of the European agenda as a political priority, as well as an intrinsic and founding value of the Union. A portfolio that integrates culture at its core, will not only stand for the diversity of our continent, it will also stand for a strong and united Europe, a Europe which takes at heart to proudly represent the cultural industries which make it so unique”, writes EIBF President Jean-Luc Treutenaere.
We urge you, Madam President-elect, to include “Culture” in Commissioner Mariya Gabriel’s title. We look forward to working with your team in close partnership.

Nina George                            Rudy Vanschoonbeek              Jean Luc Treutenaere

President EWC                        President FEP                          President EIBF


European Union Prize for Literature Awards Ceremony

European Union Prize for Literature Awards Ceremony to be held on 2 October 2019,  at BOZAR, Brussels

We are pleased to announce that the fourteen laureates of the European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL) will be officially awarded at the EUPL 2019 Awards Ceremony, taking place on 2 October 2019 in BOZAR, Brussels.
The laureates, which were announced by Mr Valer-Daniel Breaz, Romanian Minister of Culture and National Identity, and Mr Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport on 22 May 2019 at the Permanent Representation of Romania to the European Union in Brussels are:
Laura Freudenthaler (Austria), Piia Leino (Finland), Sophie Daull (France), Réka Mán-Várhegyi (Hungary), Beqa Adamashvili (Georgia), Nikos Chryssos (Greece), Jan Carson (Ireland), Giovanni Dozzini (Italy), Daina Opolskaitė (Lithuania), Marta Dzido (Poland), Tatiana Țîbuleac (Romania), Ivana Dobrakovová (Slovakia), Haska Shyyan (Ukraine) and Melissa Harrison (United Kingdom).
During the official EUPL Awards Ceremony, the awards will be given by Mr Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport, Ms Hanna Kosonen, Finnish Minister of Education and Science and Ms Sabine Verheyen, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education.
Civilization starts with the invention of letters, which enabled reading, communion and communication with past generations, with other cultures, nations and ideals. Flaubert's dictum ‘Read in order to live’ proposes that books teach us ethics and the human condition in any aspect, as well as exemplify the madness and achievements of our own epoch. Literature is the backbone of democracy, it teaches empathy and provides independent thinking, the mental shield against fake-news and post-factual-eras. With the EUPL we honour these inestimable values of books and, overall: their authors, the sources and voices of European diversity, says Ms Nina George, President of the European Writers’ Council.
The Awards Ceremony will be preceded by readings by each author in various rooms in the BOZAR and the keynote address of the Ceremony will be given by the best-selling Finnish author, Ms Sofi Oksanen.

Having the EUPL ceremony in BOZAR brings this festive evening to an entire new dimension. I am very happy that the 14 laureates of the 2019 edition will have the chance to read some of their books in this landmark cultural institution. Reading the translations in the anthology makes me impatient for these books to be translated: those 14 definitely have talent., stated by Mr Rudy Vanschoonbeek, President of the Federation of European Publishers.
The European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL) is an award which recognises outstanding new and emerging literary talents across Europe, and highlights the wealth of contemporary European literature, while drawing attention to the continent’s unique cultural and linguistic heritage. So far, the EUPL has rewarded 108 authors from 41 country during a decade of its existence. Last year, the EUPL celebrated its 10th Anniversary with the ‘European stories’ short story contest open for all previous laureates. Entering its new cycle, the Prize is introducing its first ever laureates from Georgia and Ukraine.

As stated by Jean Luc Treutenaere, co-President of the European and International Booksellers Federation: 2019, a year of new beginnings for EUPL: the start of a new 3-year cycle, the welcoming of several new countries within the EUPL family and, most importantly, 14 new laureates joining the EUPL palmarès. EIBF wishes to warmly congratulate these 14 European talented, emerging writers. We wish for their works to cross as many borders as possible and to inspire European readers. As representative of booksellers, we wish that their books will integrate the selection of many bookshops throughout Europe.
The EUPL is organised by a Consortium comprising the European Writers' Council (EWC), the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) and the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF) with the support of the European Commission. As funded by Creative Europe, it is accessible to all countries participating in this EU funding programme for the cultural and creative sectors for 2014-2020.

National juries, consisting of experts in fields of literature, publishing and bookselling, are set up in each country participating in the EUPL in the respective year. After shortlisting 3 to 5 authors, the national Juries choose their laureates who receive a financial prize but also benefit from increased international visibility and cross-border promotion, starting with the Awards Ceremony in Brussels and continuing at major book fairs in Europe and beyond.
For more information:
Website of the Prize:
Facebook page:

Culture portal of the EU:
Creative Europe programme:


EU Prize for Literature 2019 Winners Announced

14 emerging authors from across Europe have been announced as laureates of the 2019 European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL).
On 22 May, the laureates of the European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL) 2019 were officially announced. The award ceremony will be held in Brussels on October 2nd, 2019.
The announcement was made by Tibor Navracsics, the European Commissioner for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, and the Romanian Minister of Culture and National Identity, Mr Valer-Daniel Breaz, at the Permanent representation of Romania to the European Union in Brussels.
The EUPL 2019 laureates are:
Laura Fredenthaler (Austria)
• Piia Leino (Finland)
• Sophie Daull (France)
• Réka Mán-Várhegyi (Hungary)
• Beqa Adamashvili (Georgia)
• Nikos Chryssos (Greece)
• Jan Carson (Ireland)
• Giovanni Dozzini (Italy)
• Daina Opolskaite (Lithuania)
• Marta Dzido (Poland)
• Tatiana Țîbuleac (Romania)
• Ivana Dobrakovová (Slovakia)
• Halya Shyyan (Ukraine)
• Melissa Harrison (United Kingdom) 

More information about our winning authors:

The selected countries participating in 2020 (next year):
Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, North Macedonia, Germany, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Norway and Spain.
The EUPL is an award which recognises outstanding new and emerging literary talents across Europe, and highlights the wealth of contemporary European literature.
The prize also draws attention to the continent’s unique cultural and linguistic heritage. So far, the EUPL has awarded 108 authors from 41 countries and this year, it is announcing its first ever winners from Georgia and Ukraine.
Supported by Creative Europe, the initiative is accessible to all countries participating in this EU funding programme for the cultural and creative sectors for the current period 2014-2020.
The European Union Prize for Literature is organised by a consortium comprising the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), the European Writers' Council (EWC) and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP).

Authors’ Rights are fundamental for culture, freedom of expression and a diverse Europe

New EWC Board Press Release:
The new elected Board of the European Writers’ Council (EWC) sets its agenda: to strengthen the moral and economic rights of authors and keeping the diversity of literature alive, the most powerful and independent instrument of democracy.

Nina George, international bestselling author from Germany, has been elected as President of the EWC at its general assembly in Riga, Latvia. The Vice-President is Daniel Cristea-Enache (Romania), Director of Communications at the Writers’ Union of Romania and Associate Professor in the Department of Literary Studies at the University of Bucharest. The new elected board includes Poet Ružica Cindori, Secretary General of the Croatian Writers’ Association, Non-fiction-writer Markku Löytönen, Professor of human geography at the University of Helsinki (Finland), and Alena Makouskaya, Director of the Civil society organization “Homeland”, and member of the Secretariat of the Union of the Belarusian Writers.


The new EWC-Board sets its agenda on three major tasks:
--Protecting the authors’ moral and economic rights in the digital era
--Promoting the values of Literature, to transfer knowledge, independent opinions and cultural narratives not only to the next generations
--Defending the freedom of expression, to stand for the values of a democratic, pluralistic and diverse Europe


Integer societies need a diverse culture and protected authors’ rights
«The digital era is a challenge for protecting authors’ rights and empowering the voice of writers and translators in the level-playing field», says Nina George, President of the European Writers’ Council, on the upcoming challenges for the new EWC-board. «Digitization, biotechnology, AI and robotics have also changed the communication, the cultural consumption, the common views on legal issues like ownership and responsibility. The post-factual-era and politic-hacks have their impact on the upturn in the right-wing parties throughout the Union. In order to cope with these developments, which bring about technological, political, legal, ethical and economic upheavals, Europe needs visions and concepts for an inclusive and integer society. The EWC could be the ideal think-tank.»

Vice-President Daniel Cristea-Enache confirms the meaning of EWC: «The European Writers’ Council stands for a united Europe, for the ideal of diversity, for independent literature, as well as for a wide range of culture and art. EWC, a federation which brings together the individualists, also represents individualism within a pluralist community. As it is widely acknowledged, each writer creates a personal, unique fictional world. Therefore, let us share the large-scale literary system of meaning and value, of forms and significance. Above all, we will endeavour to support and defend the writers’ and translators’ rights.» 

Defending the food chain of literature – not only in the European Union
«The ‘information food chain’ starting with those producing and providing – be it literature, articles, e-media, or something else – must be kept alive and flourishing», Finnish non-fiction writer Markku Löytönen points out clearly. «The starting point i.e. the author, is often the weakest element in this chain and should be protected through legislation and international agreements. If authors are left alone with no proper compensation, soon there will be no food chain to provide readers, teachers, students, or decision makers. If you think that facts and information are expensive, try ignorance!» 

Poet Ružica Cindori from Croatia sees the upcoming chances also in collaboration: «The European Writers’ Council raises the public awareness on the importance of the respect for copyright and the problems within the book chain that affect not only writers but also publishers, booksellers, translators», she said. «It is my belief that these problems should be solved foremost at the European level and in European institutions. In this context the voice of the EWC is of crucial importance. It is also my opinion that we should extend our help to the writers from countries that are still not members of the EU with the aim of respecting their authors’ rights and increasing the creative freedoms. Together we are stronger!» 

Creative freedoms are based also on freedom of expression
Alena Makouskaya, Director of the Civil society organization «Homeland» from Belarus, stresses the importance of freedom of expression: «The purposes which the European Writers’ Council pursues in its activity are very important to me, among which the most significant one is the protection of freedom of expression. There are still cultural organizations in Europe that are faced with censorship, limitations and violations of the rights of its members. It is especially actual for some countries of Eastern Europe. I hope that EWC maintains an active communication with democratic cultural organizations of this region as they are a very important component of the development of the region and its safety. I would like very much for the European Writers’ Council to increase its potential in this direction.» 


The EWC welcomes The Czech Writers’ Association as new member

The European Writers' Council is delighted to announce that our Annual General Assembly ratified unanimously Asociace spisovatelů, The Czech Writers’ Association, on Sunday 2 June in Riga, Latvia.The association was presented by Mr. Ondrej Lipár, Chairman,  at the assembly.
“The Czech Writers Association joins together both poets and prose writers. The organisation was founded in 2015 by Czech writers who lacked a functional platform that would advocate living literature’s interests in the Czech Republic.
The Association promotes a professional approach to authorship and sees to its prestige. It aims to formulate professional concerns with respect to state institutions and private entrepreneurs. In regard to publishers and other organisers of literary life, the Association seeks “fair-trade” conditions for authors, provides them with information and legal advice, and also serves as a place to share their professional experience.”

The European Writers’ Council New Board (2019-2021)

The EWC Annual General Assembly held in Riga, Latvia, on Sunday 2 June 2019, elected the new board constituted by the following members:

EWC President: NINA GEORGE (Germany), award-winning international best-selling author of novels and non-fiction, as well as free-lance journalist.

EWC Vice-President: Daniel Cristea-Enache (Romania), literary critic.


Regular Board members:

Markku Löytönen (Finland), academic author and researcher (Professor), author of numerous articles, and of five books for children.

Ružica Cindori (Croatia), literary critic, poet and translator of poetry.

Alena Makouskaya (Belarus), director of a civil society organisation and project manager of the Union of Belarusian Writers.

The Winners of EUPL Writing Contest “A European Story: EUPL Winners Write Europe”

36 previous EUPL winning authors from 26 different countries participated in the EUPL Writing Contest “A European Story: EUPL Winners Write Europe”. The winners in the different categories were announced at the Awards Ceremony in Vienna, Austria on 07/11/2018.
You can download the anthology here:
The event was organised in cooperation with the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU, and took place at the Belvedere Palace under the patronage of the European Parliament.

The awards in the different categories, Public Prize, Professional Prize, MEPs Prize and Special Mention for Cultural Heritage, were presented by Mr. Gernot Blümel, Austrian Federal Minister for the EU, Arts, Culture and Media and Mr. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, in the presence of distinguished guests from the fields of literature, culture and politics.

Readers across Europe selected “Jasmine and death” by Jelena Lengold from Serbia as the winner of the public prize. This work of short fiction, which deals with a very timely topic in today’s society, resonated with many readers not only from the author’s home country, but from across Europe.

A professional jury comprised of Maria-João Costa (Portugal), Nina George (Germany), Juancho Pons (Spain), Cathy Rentzenbrink (UK) and Marnix Verplancke (Belgium), led by Jury President Liana Sakelliou (Greece), selected the work of short fiction “A Voice” by Ioana Pârvulescu from Romania, for its excellence.

The jury's short-list
In addition to Ioana Pârvulescu’s “A Voice”, the jury’s complete shortlist features “This is my body” by Isabelle Wéry (Belgium), “A European Story” by Meelis Friedenthal (Estonia), “Jasmine and death” by Jelena Lengold (Serbia), “Greatness Will Have its Due” by Andrej Nikolaidis (Montenegro), and “The Saviour of the World” by Adam Foulds (United Kingdom).

Moreover, the professional jury was also in charge of awarding the special mention for cultural heritage. Lidija Dimkovska from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia received this special mention for her work of short fiction “When I left Karl Kniebknecht”.

Lastly, Members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education, spearheaded by Committee Chair MEP Petra Kammerevert, were also invited to select their favourite work of short fiction. Two outstanding authors from Luxembourg, Jean Back with his work of short fiction “European Clouds”, and Gast Groeber with “Current weather warning: predominantly heavy fog”, are sharing this honour.

For photos of the ceremony and more information:


PUBLIC LENDING RIGHT Seminar for Writers held successfully in TALLINN, 22-24 October 2018

Sponsored by the Norwegian Non-fiction Writers and Translators Association – NFFO, this event was coordinated by the European Writers’ Council (EWC), hosted by the Estonian Writers’ Union, and co-sponsored by Sanasto – the Finnish Literary Copyright Society.

The regional focus was on the Baltic and Eastern-European countries. The Seminar had 24 participants, all representatives of national writers’ associations, and a few experts from collective management organisations in charge of the distribution of PLR funds for authors, who provided a report on PLR implementation in their country, covering 15 countries:
Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and United Kingdom. 

The previous events in this series were held in Zagreb (2016), and Lisbon (2017).