Polish novel wins EBRD Literature Prize

The King of Warsaw by Polish writer Szczepan Twardoch has won the 2021 Literature Prize of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

King of Warsaw book cover.

King of Warsaw book cover.Source: Press kit

The prize recognizes best work of literary fiction from the nearly 40 countries, where the Bank invests, translated into English. Twardoch’s novel has been translated by Sean Gaspar Bye. The EUR 20,000 prize is split between the author and translator.

The King of Warsaw is set in the Polish capital in the late 1930s. Its main protagonist is Jakub Szapiro, a boxer and gangster on the side, who is revered as a hero of the city’s Jewish community.  

Toby Lichtig, Chair of the independent judging panel, has described the novel as  “hard-hitting, page-turning, brilliantly crafted and deeply moving, […]  with memorable characters, vivid scenes, sharp dialogue and period detail.”

Twardoch’s other bestselling novels are Morphine and Drach. His previous honours include the Brücke Berlin Preis, Le Prix du Livre Européen, and the Audience Prize of Poland’s Nike Literary Award. Rights to his novels have been sold in over a dozen countries.  (mk)

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