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Representation in Malta
News article18 May 2021

Lara Calleja is Malta’s 2021 EUPL winner

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The European Commission Representation in Malta has congratulated Lara Calleja for winning the European Prize for Literature 2021 cycle for Malta with the short story anthology Kissirtu Kullimkien (Merlin 2020). Lara Calleja is also the first Maltese woman to have won this prestigious prize. Calleja tackles the unbridled construction frenzy on the island, construed through the author’s lense as an attack on the soul. From this cycle of construction and destruction however, friendships can bloom, and these stories sesrch for hope amidst the rubble, calm beyond the chaos, and a quest for a change despite a rampant and asphyxiating uglification of rural and urban spaces.


© EU


The aim of the European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL) is to put 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) will reach a wider and international audience, and touch readers beyond national and linguistic borders.

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 by the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), the European Writers' Council (EWC) and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP). 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.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said: “The European Prize for Literature celebrates the incredible creativity and diversity of the contemporary European literary scene. After a year of the pandemic, literature’s immense value is evident more than ever: yes, books are essential for Europe and the Europeans. Congratulations to all winners!”

Elena Grech, Head of the European Commission Representation in Malta remarked that this Prize celebrates Maltese literary talent and the hardworking local book trade. “This is a lifeline for the Maltese book industry that took its’ fair share of knocks during the pandemic. The European Prize for Literature is an indispensable platform for emerging writers, especially for the literature of smaller countries, and immediately offers the possibility for translation, publishing and networking, in order for the literary work to start moving beyond our shores. We warmly congratulate Lara Calleja for her superb achievement.” 

The European Prize for Literature is awarded every year to ten authors from 41 countries participating in the Creative Europe programme. This year’s winners have been selected by 13 national juries, composed of authors, publishers and booksellers. An anthology of the winners’ writing is published every year, with extracts from their award-winning books in the original language, and in French and English translation.

For further information, kindly contact the European Commission Representation in Malta on comm-rep-mtatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (comm-rep-mt[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)


Publication date
18 May 2021