Jančar wins Austrian State Prize for European Literature

Vienna, 25 March - Drago Jančar, arguably Slovenia's leading contemporary writer, has been awarded the Austrian State Prize for European Literature 2020. The life-time achievement award, handed out each year, comes with a check of EUR 25,000.

Writer Drago Jančar.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA
File photo

"Taking an individual to penetratingly render understandable the delusions of our history: this is one of the big strengths of his literature," the jury wrote about the 71-year-old.

Listing a number of Jančar's works that have been translated into German, the Austrian Press Agency highlights the 2017 novel And Love Itself (In Ljubezen tudi). Set in Jančar's home town of Maribor during occupation in 1943, it reaffirms Jančar as "a great narrator, chronicler and humanist".

Jančar, a novelist, playwright and essayist, is the most widely translated Slovenian writer and has received an unparalleled number of awards in Slovenia and abroad.

He has written eleven novels; one of the most celebrated ones, I Saw Her That Night (To Noč Sem Jo Videl; 2010) has been translated into at least ten languages. He is the only Slovenian writer to have won the prestigious Slovenian Kresnik Prize for the best novel of the year four times, most recently with And Love Itself in 2018.

The Austrian State Prize for European Literature is handed out annually for the oeuvre of an European author that has won international acclaim and has been translated into German. Last year the winner was French writer Michel Houellebecq and in 2018 the prize went to English novelist Zadie Smith.

© STA, 2020