Presented at a ceremony in the Mozarteum Salzburg Secretary of State for Art and Culture Andrea Mayer on July 27, 2022 the Austrian State Prize for European Literature 2022 to the Scottish writer Ali Smith. This is annually from Federal Ministry for Art, Culture, Public Service and Sport (BMKÖS) forgiven and is with 25.000 Euro endowed. Her books appear in German translation in air hand Verlag.
“Ali Smith’s oeuvre shows what problems, what risks, but also what responsibility and unique opportunity it means to be European. Ali Smith opposes the art of literature with clumsy lies, dangerous ideologies and alternative facts. Her works reflect the issues of our time, our hopes and fears, and in these difficult and uncertain times they contribute to the expansion of literary, collective and individual perception of the world,” said Secretary of State for Art and Culture Andrea Mayer. “I warmly congratulate Ali Smith on this year’s Austrian State Prize for European Literature.”
Referenced in his eulogy Literary critic Anton Thuswaldner on Ali Smith’s works: “In every human being, in fact in everyone, there is a narrative core that only needs to be prepared, and Ali Smith already has a story that has it all. She doesn’t know lukewarm characters. If you behave inconspicuously, don’t miss people when you disappear from their vicinity, if you make yourself small in order to escape the intrusiveness of others, you still have an inner life in which it rages and rages. It only remains under lock and key, which is why literature is required to find one’s way in the emotional and intellectual household of sometimes quite average people. In any case, Ali Smith has the compass that allows her to find her way in the lives of secretive and notorious personalities.”
The Five Jury for the 2022 award consisted of Robert Huez, Anne-Catherine Simon, Anton Thuswaldner, Anna Weidenholzer and Norbert Christian Wolf.
The jury justified their choice with the fact that “Ali Smith stays close to our present in her novels and short stories. And because there is no present without a past, she equips figures with biographies that reflect the 20th century. As a human being, Smith knows that in order to get close to people, it is not enough to pin them down to outer life stations. She equips them with dreams and memories, fantasies and mind games. This requires a crafty aesthetic program that does justice to the abundance of inner states. Ali Smith has the literary means to portray the diversity of society as well as the diversity of the individual in an empathetic, angry, ironic, matter-of-fact manner, sometimes reaching out into bold fantasies, sometimes committed to realistic writing.”
Born in Inverness, Scotland in 1962, the author lives and works in Cambridge. She has published several novels and collections of short stories and has received numerous awards. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2015.
She won the Whitbread Award for Best Novel of the Year for The Accidental. Her novel Being Both won the 2014 Costa Novel Award, the Saltire Society Literary Book of the Year Award, the Goldsmiths Prize and the 2015 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. The author was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for the fourth time in 2017 with “Herbst”. Her books are published by Luchterhand Verlag in the German translation by Silvia Morawetz. Her new book entitled “Companion piece” will be published in April as a follow-up to the cycle of the seasons.
The Austrian State Prize for European Literature has been awarded annually since 1965 for a complete literary work and is endowed with 25,000 euros. Most recently, the prize went to Karl Ove Knausgård (2017), Zadie Smith (2018), Michel Houellebecq (2019), Drago Jančar (2020) and László Krasznahorkai (2021).
Federal Ministry for Art, Culture, Public Service and Sport
Mag. Mother Gayed, MA
Spokeswoman for the State Secretary for Art and Culture