Three Tunisian novels shortlisted for EU literature prize

The winners of 2021 prize will be announced on May 18 during an online ceremony.
Wednesday 05/05/2021
For the first time, Tunisia and the Arabic language will be represented in this prestigious competition.
For the first time, Tunisia and the Arabic language will be represented in this prestigious competition.

TUNIS - Three Tunisian novels are among 50 books from 14 countries on the short-list for the European Union Prize for Literature 2021 (EUPL) which is funded by the European Commission’s Creative Europe programme.

According to the Creative Europe Desk in Tunisia, “for the first time, Tunisia and the Arabic language will be represented in this prestigious competition”, through the novel “Zindali, La Nuit du 14 janvier 2011” by Amin Al-Ghazzi (Zeineb editions).

The other two Tunisian works are novels in French, namely “L’Emirat” (The Emirate) by Béchir Garbouj (Editions Demeter) and “Sept morts audacieux et un poète assis” (Six daring dead and a sitting-down poet) by Saber Mansouri (Editions Elyzad).

These books were selected by a Tunisian jury chaired by the academic Raja Ben Slama, who is director-general of the National Library of Tunisia, along with three other members, academics Kamel Gueha and Jalel Gharbi and the poet Adam Fethi.

The winners of 2021 prize will be announced on May 18 during an online ceremony. According to the rules of the competition, only one novel per participating country will be chosen. Each year, one-third of the national juries will select the winning authors, allowing all countries and language areas to be represented in a three-year cycle.

The Tunisian novels are among a selection of literary works from Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Iceland, Latvia, Malta, Moldova, The Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia and Sweden.

These books were selected by a Tunisian jury chaired by the academic Raja Ben Slama. (twitter)
These books were selected by a Tunisian jury chaired by the academic Raja Ben Slama. (twitter)

This annual competition has been running for 12 years. It is open to countries participating in the Creative Europe programme which is not simply open to all EU Member States. Tunisia is among the non-EU countries participating in the Creative Europe Programme.

The EUPL is a consortium made up of the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), the Federation of European Writers’ Associations (FAEE/EWC) and the Federation of European Publishers (FEE). It aims to promote the cross-border mobility of those working in the cultural sector, encourage the transnational circulation of cultural and artistic production and foster inter-cultural dialogue.