EBRD Literature Prize

  • March 2019


The Devils' Dance, written by Hamid Ismailov and translated from Uzbek by Donald Rayfield, with John Farndon, won the second EBRD Literature Prize.


The three shortlisted titles were:

  • Soviet Milk by Nora Ikstena (translated by Margita Gaelitis) (Peirene Press)
    Language: Latvian
  • The Devil's Dance by Hamid Ismailov (translated by Donald Rayfield with John Farndon (Tilted Axis Press)
    Language: Uzbek
  • Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (translated by John Antonia Lloyd-Jones) (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
    Language: Polish


The EBRD Literature Prize is meant to recognise and promote the extraordinary richness, depth and variety of culture and history in the countries in which the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development invests. The Prize sets out to underscore the importance of the writer in reflecting the aspirations and challenges facing people across this varied region. No less important, the Prize is meant to acknowledge the talent and vital role played by the translator in making the stories from these countries accessible to the English-speaking public.

The Prize

The EBRD Literature Prize acknowledges a translated work of literary fiction written originally in any language from an EBRD country of operations and published by a UK publisher. The first prize of €20,000 is equally divided between the winning author and translator. Two runners-up and their translators will receive a prize of €1,000 each.


The British Council collaborated with the EBRD in partnership in organising the competition and award ceremony.

Judging Panel was selected and announced the shortlist of three books in February 2019. 

The four judges were:

  • Rosie Goldsmith (Chair of the Judging Panel): is an award-winning journalist specializing in arts and foreign affairs. In twenty years at the BBC, she travelled the world and presented several flagship programmes. Rosie is a linguist and has lived in Europe, Africa and the USA. Today she combines journalism with chairing and curating literary events and festivals for leading cultural organisations.  Known as a champion of international literature, translation and language learning, she promotes them whenever she can. She is Founder and Director of the European Literature Network.
  • Gabriel Gbadamosi is a poet, playwright, essayist and broadcaster. He was AHRC Creative and Performing Arts Fellow at the Pinter Centre, Goldsmiths, a Judith E. Wilson Fellow for Creative Writing at Cambridge University and Royal Literary Fund Fellow. His London novel Vauxhall (2013) won the Tibor Jones Pageturner Prize.
  • Ted Hodgkinson is an editor, critic, writer and Senior Programmer for Literature and Spoken Word at the Southbank Centre, where he oversees the seasonal literature programme as well as the prestigious London Literature Festival. He has previously judged the BBC National Short Story Award (2016), the British Book Awards (Debut of the Year, 2016) and the Costa Book Awards (Poetry, 2012). He co-edited, with Icelandic author and poet Sjón, the first anthology of Nordic short stories in English, The Dark Blue Winter Overcoat and other stories from the North (Pushkin Press, 2017), to critical acclaim.

  • Samantha Schnee is the Founding Editor of Words Without Borders, dedicated to publishing the world's best literature translated into English. She previously worked for Andrew Wylie as his assistant, then for Francis Coppola, launching his literary magazine, Zoetrope: All-Story. Her most recent translation from Spanish, of Mexican author Carmen Boullosa's TEXAS: THE GREAT THEFT (Deep Vellum, 2014), was shortlisted for the PEN America Translation Prize and won the Typographical Era Translation Award. She currently serves as secretary of the American Literary Translators Association. She also chairs PEN America’s Heim Translation Grants jury and is a trustee of English PEN.

Full details are available via the EBRD.


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