Awards: E.U. Prize for Literature Winner; RSL Ondaatje Shortlist

Stjenice (Bedbugs) by Martina Vidaić of Croatia and published by Naklada Ljevak is the winner of the 2023 European Union Prize for Literature, which recognizes emerging fiction writers from the European Union and beyond.

There were five special mentions, ordered by country, and with titles translated into English:

Cyprus: The Outpost by Hari N. Spanou (Aegan Publications)
Estonia: Pâté of the Apes: One Primate's Thoughts and Memories by Tõnis Tootsen (Kaarnakivi Seltsi Kirjastus)
Finland: Destruction by Iida Rauma (Siltala Publishing)
France: The Hour of Birds by Maud Simonnot (Editions de l'Observatoire)
Kosovo: Red Riding Hood, a Fairy Tale for Adults by Ag Apolloni (Bard Books)

Jean Luc Treutenaere, co-president of the European & International Booksellers Federation, said: "It is a pleasure for me to congratulate the EUPL 2023 winner and special mentions as well as all of this year's nominees. These brilliant emergent authors' works represent the richness of our European culture and the diversity of European contemporary literature. I wish them all a successful literary career and many great books that will fill the shelves of bookshops all around Europe and beyond and that will cross borders and help us understand each other better."


The shortlist has been released for the £10,000 (about $12,465) Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, which recognizes "an outstanding work of fiction, nonfiction or poetry that best evokes the spirit of a place." The winner will be announced on May 10. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Heritage Aesthetics by Anthony Anaxagorou
Scary Monsters by Michelle de Kretser 
The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka
England's Green by Zaffar Kunial
Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris 

The judges said, "What captivated us about all five books on the shortlist was the revelations they gave us: powerfully evoked landscapes that felt sometimes home, but sometimes alien and hostile worlds because of the political forces that strafe across them like bullets. Cinematic in scope and description, we were enticed by personal stories connected to larger histories, rich and adventurous language, and revelations that sometimes bordered on an unexpected new form of creative documentary. All these books defy narrow national boundaries, and we've relished an unflinching power of individual figures standing up against violence and hostility, and facing down darkness, with decency and love."

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