“I am very proud of the EU Prize for Literature and to share the stage with the two winning BiH authors selected for the prize. For a long period, the European Union felt that culture is fostered only in EU Member States, and that they should be the only ones to promote it. Of course, culture is not only promoted in Member States, yet, it comes from all over Europe, trough diversity, and we should promote our diversity as much as possible“, said Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH, in his opening speech at the literary afternoon on the occasion of Europe Day on May 12 in Banja Luka.
Gathering young authors, poets and cultural workers, the event featured readings of literary works by the two EU Prize for Literature winning writers, Faruk Šehić and Tanja Stupar – Trifunović, followed by an interactive discussion on the role of literature in contemporary BiH society.
Faruk Šehić, the winner of the 2013 EU Prize for Literature from BiH, shared his award-winning experience with the participants. “One of the benefits from the EU Literature Prize is that authors receive financial support to see their work translated, they meet other authors, and, of course, gain new experiences worldwide. When a book is translated into another language, it gets a whole new life and the story continues developing,” Šehić explained.
The winner of the 2016 EU Prize for Literature, Tanja Stupar – Trifunović noted that literature is the way of living, which drives authors to write and to be a poet. “The EU Literature Prize definitely contributes to stimulating authors to create literary works. Also, it provides many possibilities, for instance, I was offered several contracts for translation of my novel into other EU languages, and it helped me establish new professional contacts and travel to many different countries“, Stupar-Trifunović concluded.
The European Union Prize for Literature is funded by the Creative Europe programme. Each winner receives 5,000 Euros, their books receive wide promotion and each writer receives financial support to see their work translated. Faruk Šehić, a BiH writer and columnist, was the first winner from BiH to win the European Prize for Literature in 2013 for his novel book ‘The Book of Una’ (‘Knjiga o Uni’). In 2016, a winning author from Banja Luka, Tanja Stupar-Trifunović, was awarded the same prize for her book ‘Clocks in my mother’s room’ (‘Satovi u majčinoj sobi).