07.03.2023 #literature

Jeff Schinker – Nominee for the European Union Prize for Literature 2023

© Hydre Éditions / Philippe Matsas

Ma vie sous les tentes by Jeff Schinker has been nominated for the European Union Prize for Literature 2023. The European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL) recognises emerging fiction writers from the European Union and beyond. Engaging the 41 countries participating in the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, the Prize celebrates 41 outstanding new literary talents across a cycle of three years. Spotlighting the creativity and the immense and diverse wealth of Europe’s contemporary literature in the field of fiction, EUPL aims to promote the circulation of literature within Europe and encourage greater interest in non-national literary works. Thirtheen authors from fourteen countries participate in the 2023 edition and have been nominated:

  • Armenia: Lusine Kharatyan, ՍԻՐԻԱՎԵՊ (A Syrian Affair), Publisher: Granish
  • Croatia: Martina Vida, Stjenice (Bedbugs), Publisher: Naklada Ljevak
  • Cyprus: Χάρη Ν. Σπανού (Hari N. Spanou), Φυλάκιο (The Outlook), Publisher: Εκδόσεις Αιγαίον (Aegan Publications)
  • Czechia: Ondřej Štindl, Tolik popela (So Much Ash), Publisher: Argo
  • Estonia: Tõnis Tootsen, Ahvide pasteet. Ühe ahvi mälestusi ja mõtteid (Pâté of the Apes: One Primate’s Thoughts and Memories), Publisher: Kaarnakivi Seltsi Kirjastus
  • Finland: Iida Rauma, Hävitys (Destruction), Publisher: Siltala Publishing
  • France: Maud Simonnot, L’heure des oiseaux (The Hour of Birds), Publisher: Editions de l’Observatoire
  • Kosovo:Ag Apolloni, Kësulëkuqja, përrallë për të rritur (Little Red Riding Hood, a tale for adults), Publisher : Bard Books
  • Liechtenstein: Anna Ospelt, Fruhe pflanzung (Early Planting), Publisher: Limmat
  • Luxembourg: Jeff Schinker, Ma vie sous les tentes (My life in tents), Publisher: Hydre Éditions
  • Montenegro: Ilija Đurović, Sampas, Publisher: Treći Trg
  • Poland: Sabina Jakubowska, Akuszerki (The Midwives), Publisher: Grupa Wydawnicza Relacja
  • Sweden: Marit Kapla, Kärlek på svenska (Love in Swedish), Publisher: Teg Publishing

The nominating organisation for Luxembourg composed by Florent Toniello (A:LL Schrëftsteller*innen), Nathalie Jacoby (Centre national de littérature), Jeanne Glesener (University of Luxembourg) Béatrice Kneip (journalist) and Anne Diderich (Federation of Luxembourgish Librarians), has selected Ma vie sous les tentes by Jeff Schinker for its unflinchingly honest look at a way of life in which the fear of mediocrity and solitude drives every move and every sentence in search for connections that transcend the seemingly unremarkable and for its insightful exploration of the sociology of festival life.

The EUPL 2023 Prize winner and the five special mentions will be revealed on 28 April, during the announcement ceremony at the Leipzig Book Fair. All nominated authors will be continuously promoted on a European stage, aiming to reach a wider and international audience, as well as connect with readers beyond their national and linguistic borders.

The EUPL is organised by a Consortium of associations comprising the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) and the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), with the support of the European Commission.

Several Luxembourgish writers have already won the European Union Prize for Literature :
– Jean Back in 2010 for his short novel Amateur, ultimomondo, Luxembourg, 2009.
– Tullio Forgiarini in 2013 for Amok. Eng Lëtzebuerger Liebeschronik, Editions Guy Binsfeld, Luxembourg, 2011.
– Gast Groeber in 2016 for All Dag verstoppt en aneren, Op der Lay, Luxembourg, 2013.
– Francis Kirps in 2020 for Die Mutationen, Hydre Editions, Luxembourg, 2019.

Author biography

After a childhood full of fun and games he barely remembers, Jeff Schinker (1985) spent his awkward teenagers devouring a ton of books, thereby causing a certain amount of damage to his digestive system. He then moved to Paris where he began a never-ending course of studies at university that could one day be crowned with a doctorate in comparative literature should he ever decide to pick them up again. He frittered away his time in the French capital, a clear sign that he was preparing for a career as a writer. He just needed his first texts, which he duly wrote in his studio apartment, and which were so bad that he couldn’t even find himself a Max Brod he could ask to burn them on his behalf. The writer persevered, however, as evidenced by his contribution to Fragments 3973, published by Hydre Éditions in 2013. After Retrouvailles, which came out in 2015 with the same publisher, things really took off. Unable to live off his writing despite the incredible success of his first book (in 2022 alone, the publisher reportedly sold one or two copies), he turned to journalism and became the editor of the Tageblatt culture section. After being included in several anthologies published in English and French, Schinker made a comeback with Sabotage, a megalomaniac project written in four languages. It was destined to be a flop, but was in fact shortlisted for the Servais Prize, the Lëtzebuerger Buchpräis, and the European Prize for Literature. In addition to these two trades, Schinker also organises readings which are much like his books, namely a little off the wall. After submitting the manuscript for Ma Vie sous les tentes to his publisher – a book that would also be shortlisted for the Servais Prize- he disappeared into thin air, disillusioned by the world in general and the literary microcosm in particular. According to a few juicy rumours doing the rounds on the Luxembourg cultural circuit, he’s apparently working on a fourth novel, but no one knows much about it, beyond the fact it’ll be full of sentences that are far too long.