Drago Jančar wins the Austrian State Prize for European Literature 2020

Drago Jančar, one of the leading Slovenian contemporary writers, has been awarded this year’s Austrian State Prize for European Literature, which is a life-time achievement award endowed with 25.000€.

"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. 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 15 languages so far. He is the only Slovenian writer to have won the prestigious Slovenian Kresnik Prize for the best novel of the year four times.

Many of his works have already been translated into German, the latest being his 11th novel And Love Itself (Wenn die Liebe ruht, Zsolnay Verlag, 2019, translated by Daniela Kocmut) set in his home town Maribor during occupation in 1943. The English translation was published by Dalkey Arcive Press.

The Austrian State Prize for European Literature is handed out annually by the Federal Chancellery of Austria to a 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.

We congratulate the author and his publishers at home and abroad!