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European Literature Prize 2023


Each year, the European Literature Prize is awarded to the best contemporary European novel published in Dutch translation. Both author and translator are honoured, to help the novel reach a wider audience and raise awareness of the vital role of translators.

The award ceremony takes place during Crossing Border, and this year the prize will be awarded to Checkout 19 by British author Claire-Louise Bennett, translated into Dutch as Kassa 19 by Karina van Santen and Martine Vosmaer.

Checkout 19, published in 2021, examines the craft of writing through the story of a schoolgirl in a working-class London family enchanted by the first sparks of her imagination. The excitement with which she conjures up characters and scenarios in her head is matched by the joy with which she creates her own path through the world. It is the second novel by Bennett, whose 2015 debut Pond was nominated for numerous awards.

Its translators Van Santen and Vosmaer studied at the now-defunct Institute for Translation Studies in Amsterdam and entered the world of publishing in 1985 with their joint translation of Company by Samuel Beckett. Since then, they have translated novels from French, English and Afrikaans, including books by Salman Rushdie, Ali Smith, and Catherine Millet.

More details of the winner and the shortlist can be found on the European Literature Prize website.

Ilse Josepha Lazaroms