Gozo born author Pierre J. Mejlak awarded the European Union Prize for Literature

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Gozo born author Pierre J. Mejlak awarded the European Union Prize for LiteratureYesterday, the Gozo born author Pierre J. Mejlak was awarded the European Union Prize for Literature for his second collection of short stories, ‘Dak li l-Lejl Ihallik Tghid’ (what the night lets you say) which was published in June 2011.

The award recognises the best new and emerging authors in Europe and the presentation of the awards took place during a gala ceremony at the Concert Noble in Brussels, by the European Commissioner for Education and Culture, Tibor Navracsics, in the presence of the Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici, members of the European Parliament and representatives of the Italian Presidency of the EU.

This is the second time Malta has won the European Union Literary, writer Immanuel Mifsud achieved this success in 2011 with his his work, In the Name of the Father (and of the Son).

Mejlak was born in Gozo in 1982, his first collection of short stories for adults, Qed Nistenniek Niezla max-Xita (I’m waiting for you to fall with the rain) was published to critical and popular acclaim in February 2009.

A number of his short stories have been translated into English, French, Catalan, Portuguese, Serbian, Arabic, Spanish, Indonesian and Italian and were read at numerous literary festivals around Europe and the Middle East. Mejlak’s award-winning novel Rih Isfel (southern wind) has been turned into a 13-episode prime-time TV series for Malta’s NET TV.

Two times winner of the Malta Journalism Award, Pierre J. Mejlak worked as a journalist from 1999 to 2005. He was a BBC correspondent, a regular columnist for Malta’s daily In-Nazzjon and produced radio shows – including 60 one-hour documentaries on rock legends – for various national radio stations.

From an early age, Pierre J. Mejlak published a number of magazines, including his very-own monthly magazine Il-Fwieha tan-Narcisa, which he wrote, edited and published from January 1996 to December 2000.

This year’s winners are: Ben Blushi (Albania), Milen Ruskov (Bulgaria), Jan Nemec (Czech Republic), Makis Tsitas (Greece), Oddný Eir (Iceland), Janis Jonevs (Latvia), Armin Öhri (Liechtenstein), Pierre J. Mejlak (Malta), Ognjen Spahic (Montenegro), Marente de Moor (The Netherlands), Uglješa Šajtinac (Serbia), Birgül Oguz (Turkey) and Evie Wyld (United Kingdom).

Each winner receives € 5 000. More importantly, they benefit from extra promotion and international visibility. Their publishers are encouraged to apply for EU funding to have the winning books translated into other languages to reach new markets.

The EUPL is organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the European Booksellers’ Federation, the European Writers’ Council and the Federation of European Publishers.

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