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Bank Austria Literaris

  • Eastern and Southeastern European literature award with the highest prize money
  • Award ceremony held during book fair on November 20

Staged for the second time in 2008, the Bank Austria Literaris award is a sponsorship award for literary works from Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Currently, its total prize money of 100,000 euros is the highest awarded for literature from this part of the world. This focus corresponds to the economic activities of Bank Austria, which is a part of UniCredit Group and stands as the market leader in this growth region. Above all, however, it complements the bank’s wide-ranging existing cultural partnerships. What’s more, with KulturKontakt Austria and Wieser Verlag publishers, it has teamed up with two partners who have gained extensive experience in Eastern Europe.

Chaired by Czech writer and President of the international P.E.N. Club, Jiří Gruša, the jury again discussed this year’s numerous candidates. After looking through some 800 texts, it compiled a short list of 25 titles, from which the winners of the Bank Austria Literaris 2008 were finally chosen:

And the winner of the Bank Austria Literaris 2008 is Slovakian author Agda Bavi Pain with his "Koniec sveta" (At the End of the World). Coming in second and third are Srđan Valjarević, Serbia, with  "Komo" (Como), and Palmi Rancev, Bulgaria, with “Malko kasmet za po-kasno” (A Little Luck for Later). This year, a special prize for poetry was up for grabs, too. It was awarded to Slovakian poet Rudolf Jurolek for his book "Život je možný" (Life is Possible). The award ceremony was held on November 20 at the Metro Kino in Vienna.

Additionally, a four-week stay in Vienna was awarded to Katarina Marincic (Slovenia), Sigitas Parulskis (Lithaunia), Ion Manulescu (Romania), Aleksej Iwanow (Russia), Peter Semolic (Slovenia), Tanja Stupar-Trifunovic (Bosnia- Herzegovina), and Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki (Poland).

Microcosm of change
Eastern European literature is experiencing a new awakening. Like no other region and  for many years now, it has reacted to the radical changes sweeping our world. The narrative expression of a new beginning, imagination living up to the freedom to determine form and content, and the courageous exploration of what is by now not all that novel anymore, these are just a few of the characteristics of this relatively young literary scene. What’s more, the writing skills of these authors are remarkable and form the basis for a highly original narrative style that makes Eastern European literature an important current of the early 21st century – a major contribution to the literature of our day.

Europe is a winner, too
Against this backdrop, Bank Austria sees its responsibility in bringing together the knowledge and sensitivity needed to create a platform that enables authors in this important region to harness a strong network and realize their potential to attract a wide readership. That benefits all those involved: Eastern Europe’s cultural scene, the authors themselves, readers –  and last but not least Europe as a whole, which has a vested interest in growing together even further.
Within this context, Bank Austria sees itself as a partner and supports the integration of Central and Southeastern Europe on many levels. Shape your tomorrow today is the guiding principle of UniCredit Group, and here it has once again been put into action.

Roadmap to the breakthrough
The award winning works by the three main award winners of the Bank Austria Literaris 2008 competition have already been translated into German and published by Wieser Verlag with support from KulturKontakt Austria; additionally, the winner will receive a sponsorship award carrying prize money of 7,500 euros. The winning texts along with further writings by seven excellent authors will be presented at a series of readings in Vienna. Thus, the authors are given an opportunity to introduce themselves to a larger audience and draw attention to the complexity of their literary heritage and origins.
This  „literary journey“ commenced with a gala event at Vienna’s Metrokino: The speaker on this occasion was writer György Dalos who served as a member of the jury and has proved himself to be a wonderful mediator between literary worlds.
Over the following days, readings by the award winners will be held on the stage of the BUCH WIEN book fair.

Bank Austria Literaris 2008: Readings by the Award Winners

BUCH WIEN 08, 1020 Vienna, Messeplatz 1

Srđan Valjarević
November 21, 2008, 12:30 pm

Palmi Ranchev
21. November 2008, 2:30 pm

Rudolf Jurolek
November 22, 2008, 3:30 pm

Agda Bavi Pain
November 22, 2008, 5:00 pm 

Biographies of the Award Winners

For further information please contact:
Bank Austria Arts Sponsorship  
Katja Erlach     
Phone: +43 (0)5 05 05 - 56839   
E-mail: katja.erlach@unicreditgroup.at

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