European Book Prize

The European Book Prize (French: Le Prix du Livre Européen) is a European Union literary award established in 2007. It is organized by the association Esprit d'Europe in Paris. It seeks to promote European values, and to contribute to European citizens' better understanding of the European Union as a cultural entity.

European Book Prize
Awarded forpromoting European values, and contributing to European citizens' better understanding of the European Union as a cultural entity
Location European Union
Presented byEsprit d'Europe
First awarded2007; 14 years ago (2007)
Currently held byPavol Rankov for Stalo sa prvého septembra (alebo inokedy) and Kapka Kassabova for Border: a journey to the edge of Europe (2020)

Eligible books must have been published in one of the 27 European Union (EU) member-states in the preceding year, in the original language or a translation. Works are submitted in one of two categories: essai (which in French means, something broader than the English "essay") and romans et récits ("novels and narratives").[1] A long list is drawn up by the organizers in Paris; the number varies but for example, in 2011, there were 50 essais plus 47 romans et recits.[1] These are then sent to a "sponsorship committee" which narrows it down to about a seven title shortlist, which are then given to a new committee of judges, composed of journalists and authors.[1]

The European Book Prize is organised by the association Esprit d'Europe and was founded by France Rouqe, Luce Perrot and François-Xavier Priollaud. The prize is worth 10,000 euros to each winner. The first two years saw only one winner who received 20,000 euros.


The inaugural European Book Prize was awarded to Belgium's prime minister Guy Verhofstadt for United States of Europe. The ceremony was held at the European Parliament in Brussels on 5 December 2007.

Swedish crime fiction writer Henning Mankell handed the prize to the winner. While giving the prize, Mankell said that the jury was sensitive to the political courage showed by the current prime minister of Belgium. He added that in a Europe which has a lot of self-doubt, which has a lot of questions about its own future, Guy Verhofstadt offered a clear proposal for the future. He gave reasons to believe in European constitution.

While receiving the reward, Verhofstadt said, "When I wrote this book, I in fact meant it as a provocation against all those who didn't want the European Constitution. Fortunately, in the end a solution was found with the treaty, that was approved."[2]

Year Category English title Original title Author Nationality Ref(s)
2007EssayUnited States of EuropeDe Verenigde Staten van Europa: manifest voor een nieuw EuropaGuy Verhofstadt Belgium
2008EssayPostwarPostwarTony Judt United Kingdom
2009 NovelGottlandGottlandMariusz Szczygieł Poland
EssayEurope for DummiesL'Europe pour les NulsSylvie Goulard France
2010 NovelPurgePuhdistusSofi Oksanen Finland
EssayBeauty and the InfernoLa bellezza e l'infernoRoberto Saviano Italy
2011 NovelRed Love The Story of an East German FamilyHaltet euer Herz bereit: eine ostdeutsche FamiliengeschichteMaxim Leo Germany[1]
EssayThe Crime and the SilenceMy z JedwabnegoAnna Bikont Poland[1]
2012 NovelMadonna on the moonWie die Madonna auf den Mond kamRolf Bauerdick [de] Germany
EssayEurope’s passageLe Passage à l’EuropeLuuk van Middelaar Netherlands
2013 NovelAn Englishman in MadridRiña de gatosEduardo Mendoza Spain[3]
EssayThe French, gravediggers of the euroCes Français, fossoyeurs de l’euroArnaud Leparmentier [eo; fr] France[3]
2014 NovelHannah's DressLa robe de HannahPascale Hugues France[4]
EssayTurbulent and Mighty ContinentTurbulent and Mighty ContinentAnthony Giddens United Kingdom
2015 NovelVeraJean-Pierre Orban Belgium[5]
EssayDer Europäische LandboteRobert Menasse Austria
2016 NovelThe ImpostorEl impostorJavier Cercas Spain
EssayLe Plus et le MoinsErri De Luca Italy
2017 NovelZinkDavid Van Reybrouck Belgium[6]
EssaySi la démocratie fait failliteRaffaele Simone [it] Italy
2018 NovelThose Who ForgetLes AmnésiquesGeraldine Schwarz Germany
EssayEast West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against HumanityPhilippe Sands United Kingdom
2019 NovelMiddle EnglandJonathan Coe United Kingdom
EssayNous l’Europe, banquet des peuplesLaurent Gaudé France
2020 NovelStalo sa prvého septembra (alebo inokedy)Pavol Rankov Slovakia
Jury prizeBorder: a journey to the edge of EuropeKapka Kassabova Bulgaria

Winners by country

Country Laureates
 France 4
 United Kingdom 4
 Belgium 3
 Germany 3
 Italy 3
 Spain 2
 Poland 2
 Austria 1
 Bulgaria 1
 Finland 1
 Netherlands 1
 Slovakia 1


  1. Julian Barnes. "Judging the European Book prize for 2011", The Guardian, 16 December 2011
  2. "EuroNews TV Report of 5 December 2007". Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  3. "European Book Prize: promoting European values". 5 December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  4. "British Lord wins European Book Prize with plea to make EU stronger",, 8 January 2015, accessed 30 January 2017
  5. "European Book Prize 2015", Cafebabel, 21 December 2015, accessed 30 January 2017
  6. "David Van Reybrouck wins the European Book Prize". Focus on Belgium. 14 December 2017. Retrieved 24 December 2017.