EU Literature Prize: Sant asks why political party publishers are disqualified

Labour MEP and author and creator of Sensiela Kotba Soċjalisti asks Commission to clarify EU Literature Prize ban on politically-owned publishers

Alfred Sant with his award-winning Western, published by SKS
Alfred Sant with his award-winning Western, published by SKS

Labour MEP Alfred Sant is demanding answers from the European Commission as to why writers nominated for the European Union Prize for Literature are automatically disqualified from the accolade if they have been published by a political party publishing house.

Sant, himself a prolific author  published by Labour Party-owned SKS Publishers, tabled a Parliamentary Question to the Commission pointing out that “the particular condition excluding writers published by houses owned or affiliated to a political party does not feature in the rules published on the website of the European Union Prize for Literature”.

Seeking clarification, Sant requested the European Commission to table a full copy of the established regulations.

He also questioned whether national panels have exclusive competence when writers are shortlisted and then winners selected, or whether other panels established in Brussels or elsewhere share in the decisions.

The Prize’s aim is to reward creativity by new and newly emerging writers in the EU, putting the spotlight on the creativity and diverse wealth of Europe’s contemporary literature in the field of fiction, to promote the circulation of literature within Europe and to encourage greater interest in non-national literary works.

The works of the selected winners - one per country participating in the Prize on a rotation basis - should reach a wider and international audience, and touch readers beyond national and linguistic borders, Sant observed in his EPQ.

The Prize is financed by the Creative Europe programme of the European Commission, which aims to achieve three main goals: to promote cross-border mobility of those working in the cultural sector; to encourage the transnational circulation of cultural and artistic output; and to foster intercultural dialogue. 

The consortium selected by the European Commission to coordinate the initiative is composed of the European and International Booksellers Federation, the European Writers' Council and the Federation of European Publishers. These three members are jointly responsible for the setting up of the national juries and the practical organisation of the award ceremony.

The Prize competition is open to the 41 countries currently involved in the Creative Europe programme. Each year, national juries in a third of the participating countries nominate their winning authors, making it possible for all countries and language areas to be represented over a three-year cycle.