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EU Prize for Literature 2017: literary evening

Meet five winners of this year's edition

 On May 23, twelve winners from as many different European countries will receive the European Union Prize for Literature 2017 from the hands of the European Commissioner for Culture. The next day, you can meet five of the winners at a literary evening at deBuren, organised by EUNIC Brussels.

The laureates from the Netherlands, Latvia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and the Czech Republic will read from their winning book. They will be interviewed by Gudrun De Geyter (VRT Radio / Klara). The Dutch winner is Jamal Ouariachi; he receives the prize for his highly acclaimed novel A Hunger (2015). The other authors who will join us at deBuren are Bianca Bellová (the Czech Republic), Aleksandar Bečanović (Montenegro), Ina Vultchanova (Bulgaria) and Osvalds Zebris (Latvia). Their short biographies can be found below.

About the writers

Jamal Ouariachi, born in 1978, is the son of a Dutch mother and a Moroccan father. Jamal studied psychology at the University of Amsterdam and spent years working as an online therapist. He made his literary debut in 2010 with the novel De vernietiging van Prosper Morèl (The Destruction of Prosper Morèl). Since then he has written controversial stories, articles and columns for a range of leading publications including, HP/De Tijd, de Volkskrant, Knack Focus and Vogue. His second novel Tenderness earned him nominations for the BNG Literatuurprijs and the Gouden Uil. He followed it up with 25, one third of a Dutch literary trilogy written in response to Fifty Shades of Grey together with Daan Heerma van Voss and David Pefko.

Aleksandar Bečanović, born in 1971, is a Montenegrin writer, film critic and screenwriter. He is the author of five poetry books, Ulysses' Distance (1994), Being (1996), The Pantry (1998), Places in the Letter (2001) and Preludes and Fugues (2007); two short story collections, I am Waiting, What Will Happen Next (2005) and Obsession (2009); and a novel, Arcueil (2015). He has also published two books of film criticism, Genre in the Contemporary Cinema (2005) and the 900-page long Lexicon of Film Directors (2015). He received the Risto Ratković Award for the best book of poetry in Montenegro in 2002. He writes film reviews and essays for Montenegrin daily Vijesti. 

Bianca Bellová, born in Prague in 1970, is a translator, interpreter and writer with Bulgarian roots. Her first book, Sentimentální román (Sentimental Novel), came out in 2009 and describes the trials of growing up near the end of the communist totalitarian regime. Two years later, the publisher Host brought out the novella Mrtvý muž (Dead Man), which impressed critics. In 2013, Bellová's novella Celý den se nic nestane (Nothing Happens All Day) was published. The title both reflects and does not reflect reality: until the evening nothing much happens, but the reader is able to reconstruct the underlying stories. Her most recent book, nominated for the EUPL, is the novel Jezero (The Lake, 2016).

Ina Vultchanova is a journalist, writer, producer and translator from French and Russian. She has an MA in Bulgarian Philology from Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. Her professional career has been dedicated to the art of audio drama. She has worked as a long-time senior producer at the Drama Department of Bulgarian National Radio and has produced numerous audio adaptations of works by writers from Bulgaria and around the world. Her audio productions have won the Croatian Grand Prix Marulic in 1998, the second Prix Europa in Berlin in 1998 and the eighth Muse Prize in Sofia in 2006. Vultchanova is also a freelance writer and dialogist, who is currently working on a new Bulgarian film project. She is a member of the Union of Bulgarian Film Makers.

Osvalds Zebris, born in 1975, is a Latvian writer and journalist, holding a master's degree in economics. Zebris has worked in public relations and communications for Hill+Knowlton and McCann, and as an editor for various newspapers and magazines. He is also the author of three novels. Zebris' first book, a collection of short stories entitled Brīvība tīklos brought him instant popularity among readers and won him a Latvian Literature Award in 2010 for the best debut. Gaiļu kalna ēnā (In the Shadow of Rooster Hill, nominated for the Latvian Literature Award in 2015) was written and published for the historical novel series, We. Latvia. The 20th Century, focusing on the Latvian experience during 1905 in the Russian Empire. The novel Koka nama ļaudis tells the story of a strange wooden house in one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Riga. Zebris is a member of the Latvian Writers' Union.

Copyright pictures: Jamal Ouariachi (c) Arnout Huiskamp | Aleksandar Bečanović (c) Dnevne novine | Bianca Bellová (c) Marta Režová | Ina Vutchanova (c) Yana Punkina | Osvalds Zebris (c) Kristaps Kalns.

Organisation: deBuren & EUNIC Brussels in collaboration with the European Union Prize for Literature

Dit evenement vond plaats op woensdag 24 mei 2017

deBuren, Leopoldstraat 6, 1000 Brussels.

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