Prix Jan Michalski:
Edition 2022 Previous editions Rules

The Jan Michalski Prize for Literature is awarded annually for an outstanding work of world literature.

The Jan Michalski Prize for Literature has been awarded annually since 2010 by the Foundation to crown a work of world literature. An original feature of the Prize is its multicultural nature: it rewards works of all literary genres, fiction or non-fiction, irrespective of the language in which it is written.

The rotating jury, which is renewed every three years, is made up of writers recognized for their linguistic skills and their openness to literary diversity. An artist with an interest in literature is also given a seat.

The laureate is honored with a prize of CHF 50,000, which allows him/her to devote more time to his/her writing. He or she also receives a work of art specially chosen for him or her.

Discover the first selection of the 2022 edition.

Edition 2022

First selection, Jury.
The Sky Above the Roof
Nathacha Appanah
The Sky Above the Roof
Translated from the French by Geoffrey Strachan
MacLehose Press, London, 2022

Proposed by Jonathan Coe

The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again
M. John Harrison
The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again
Gollancz, London, 2020

Proposed by Jonathan Coe

Laurent Binet
Translated from the French by Sam Taylor
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2021

Proposed by Carsten Jensen

Time Shelter
Georgi Gospodinov
Time Shelter
Translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel
Weindenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2022

Proposed by Carsten Jensen

The Collector of Leftover Souls: Field notes on Brazil's everyday insurrections
Eliane Brum
The Collector of Leftover Souls: Field notes on Brazil's everyday insurrections
Translated from the Portuguese by Diane Grosklaus Whitty
Granta, London, 2019

Proposed by Kapka Kassabova

Les fossoyeuses
Taina Tervonen
Les fossoyeuses
Marchialy, Paris, 2021

Proposed by Kapka Kassabova

River Kings: A new history of the Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Roads
Cat Jarman
River Kings: A new history of the Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Roads
HarperCollins, London, 2021

Proposed by Vera Michalski-Hoffmann

My Pen is the Wing of a Bird: New fiction by Afghan women
Untold Narratives
My Pen is the Wing of a Bird: New fiction by Afghan women
MacLehose Press, London, 2022

Proposed by Vera Michalski-Hoffmann

Dans leur nuit
Perrine Lamy-Quique
Dans leur nuit
Seuil, Paris, 2021

Proposed by Valérie Mréjen

La fille qu'on appelle
Tanguy Viel
La fille qu'on appelle
Minuit, Paris, 2021

Proposed by Valérie Mréjen

Le passeur
Stéphanie Coste
Le passeur
Gallimard, Paris, 2021

Proposed by Anne Nivat


Vera Michalski-Hoffmann, President of the jury

The publisher Vera Michalski-Hoffmann, born in 1954, who has always been committed to promoting literature and the written word, founded the publishing group Libella with Jan Michalski. Since 1986 numerous authors have been brought out in French, Polish and  English at various publishing houses, including Noir sur Blanc, Buchet-Chastel, Phébus, Wydawnictwo Literackie, and World Editions. In 2004 Vera Michalski created the Jan Michalski Foundation for Writing and Literature, whose mission is to foster literary creation and encourage the practice of reading through a range of initiatives and activities.

Jonathan Coe

The British novelist and biographer Jonathan Coe was born in 1961 in Birmingham (UK). He studied at the King Edward’s School and Trinity College, before going on to earn a PhD in English literature. He teaches at the University of Warwick. Coe made a name for himself internationally with his fourth novel, What a Carve Up! (Viking Press, 1994). The French translation, published the following year (Testament à l’anglaise, Gallimard, 1995), was awarded the Prix du Meilleur Livre étranger in 1996. His body of work has earned Coe a number of awards in his native Britain; published by Gallimard, his books have also garnered several prestigious prizes in France, including the 1998 Prix Médicis étranger for La maison du sommeil (The House of Sleep), and the 2019 European Book Prize for Le cœur de l’Angleterre (Middle England). In 2004 he became a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France.

Carsten Jensen

The writer and journalist Carsten Jensen was born in 1952 in Marstal (Denmark). After graduating from the University of Copenhagen with a master’s degree in literature, Jensen started writing for the daily Politiken and became a regular contributor to a number of titles in the Danish press. In 1997 he received the Danish booksellers’ Golden Laurel Award for his travel book Jeg har set verden begynde. In 2001 he began teaching at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Odense. His first novel, Vi, de druknede (We, the Drowned), published in 2009, enjoyed great critical and popular success and earned him the prestigious Danske Banks Litteraturpris while the French translation of the book took the Prix Gens de mer at the Étonnants Voyageurs (Amazing Travelers) Festival of Saint-Malo. In 2010 Jensen was awarded Olof Palme Prize. His monumental novel Den første sten (The First Stone) about a group of Danish soldiers who volunteered to serve in Afghanistan was published in 2015. His work has been translated in some twenty countries. 

Kapka Kassabova

Born in 1973 in Sofia, Bulgaria, Kapka Kassabova is the author of several collections of poetry, novels, and narrative nonfiction books in both Bulgarian and English. In 1992 her family emigrated to New Zealand, where she studied French, Russian and English literature and published her first texts. In 2005 she settled in Scotland. Her first two books to be brought out in French by Marchialy, Lisière (2020; originally published as Border in 2017) and L’écho du lac (2021; originally published as To the Lake in 2020), have won several awards, including Prix Nicolas Bouvier, special mention for the Prix du livre européen, and the Prix du Meilleur Livre étranger for nonfiction. Her forthcoming book in English, Elixir, will be brought out by Jonathan Cape/Graywolf.

Valérie Mréjen

Born in 1969 in Paris, Valérie Mréjen is a French novelist, visual artist, and director of films and videos. A graduate of the École nationale supérieure d’arts of Cergy-Pontoise in 1994, she began by publishing artist’s books before entering the field of audiovisual production. She has made a number of short films and documentaries, including Pork and Milk (2004) and Valvert (2008), as well as the feature-length drama En ville (distributed internationally as Iris in Bloom) with Bertrand Schefer in 2011, which was shortlisted the same year for the Quinzaine des réalisateurs at Cannes. She published Mon grand-père (1999), L’agrume (2001), and Eau sauvage (2004) at Éditions Allia, and Forêt noire (2012) and Troisième personne (2017) at Éditions P.O.L. Her artwork has been shown in France and abroad, notably at the Jeu de Paume, which devoted a solo show to her in 2008.

Anne Nivat

The French journalist, writer, and war reporter Anne Nivat was born in 1969. A specialist of conflict zones like Iraq, Chechnya, and Afghanistan, she is the author of many works published by Fayard, including Chienne de guerre (2000; published in English as Chienne de Guerre: A Woman Reporter Behind the Lines of the War in Chechnya, 2001), which earned her the prestigious Prix Albert Londres; Islamistes : comment ils nous voient (2006), Les brouillards de la guerre : dernière mission en Afghanistan (2011), La république juive de Staline (2013), and Dans quelle France on vit (2017). She has served as an international correspondent for several newspapers, including Libération, Le Point, The International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. A specialist of Russia, she published Un continent derrière Poutine (Seuil) in 2018. La France de face, her latest book published by Fayard, is a new investigation into the concerns of the French today.


In accordance with article two of the statutes of the Jan Michalski Foundation for Literature and the Written Word (hereafter the Jan Michalski Foundation), the Foundation Board decided to create a literary prize called the Jan Michalski Prize for Literature (hereafter the Jan Michalski Prize).

The Jan Michalski Prize was officially established on 27 October 2009.

Article 1 — The Jan Michalski Prize

The Jan Michalski Prize will be awarded to a work of world literature in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, or illustrated books.

Article 1.1 — Criteria for awarding the Jan Michalski Prize

The Jan Michalski Prize is awarded to one book annually. The prize is not limited to any one language in particular.

Article 1.2 — Frequency of the prize

The Jan Michalski Prize is awarded once a year.

Article 1.3 — What winners of the Jan Michalski Prize receive

The winner of the prize receives CHF 50,000 (fifty thousand Swiss francs), a diploma, and a work of art especially selected for the Jan Michalski Prize.

Collective works are also eligible for consideration by the Prize Committee; if a book by several authors wins, the Jan Michalski Prize is awarded to all of them and the sum of CHF 50,000 is divided among the various winners.

Article 1.4 — When the prize is awarded

The Jan Michalski Prize is normally awarded each year in November during a ceremony in Montricher.

Article 2 — The Prize Committee

Article 2.1 — Committee members

The Jan Michalski Prize is awarded by the Jan Michalski Foundation for Literature and the Written Word. The prize winner is selected by an international committee of writers. One seat on the committee is reserved for an artist who has also shown a sincere interest in literature. Vera Michalski, who chairs the Foundation Board, is the lifetime Chairwoman of the Prize Committee.

Article 2.2 — Selection of the committee members

The Chairwoman of the Prize Committee appoints the other members of the committee. Membership on the committee is strictly honorary, that is, no payment attaches to the post. Members serve for three years. The Foundation Board, however, does reserve the right to reduce the term of individual committee members. At the end of the members’ term, the Foundation Board is free to either reappoint the same members or appoint new ones.

The Prize Committee is made up of well-known figures from a range of nationalities and cultural backgrounds who are at ease in two or more languages and widely recognized in any of the forms of literary and artistic expression.

Members sit on the Prize Committee in their own name and represent no interest group or commercial entity.

The Chairwoman of the Jan Michalski Foundation Board will write to each person appointed to the Prize Committee to confirm their appointment. Before serving, committee members will of course acquaint themselves with the present Rules.

Article 3 — Proposing candidates

Article 3.1 — Terms and conditions for participation

Only books published and printed by publishing houses are admissible. Manuscripts and self-published works are not accepted. Books must have been published within five years prior to attribution of the Jan Michalski Prize. Reeditions are not accepted unless the book in question has been significantly revised by the original author.

Members of the Prize Committee alone are authorized to propose books for consideration, with a maximum of two proposals per member.

Article 3.2 — Closing date

Submissions must be made by 1 March of each year. The shortlist of books competing for the Jan Michalski Prize is published on the foundation’s website.

Article 4 — Prize committee delibérations

The Members of the Prize Committee deliberate in complete freedom and independence, and, apart from the present rules, receive instructions from no one. Their deliberations are secret and the minutes of their meetings are not published.

Decisions are taken by simple majority but at least three-quarters of the committee members must participate in the vote for the deliberations to be valid.

The Prize Committee meets once initially to draw up a shortlist. At the end of that meeting, the committee decides on a limited number of books for final consideration. If need be, excerpts from proposed books are translated into a language that is accessible to all of the committee’s members.

The winner of the prize is announced during the committee’s concluding session. The committee’s decision is final and not subject to appeal.

Article 5 — Final provisions

Article 5.1 — Amendments to the rules

The rules can be revised at any time by the Foundation Board, except for the provision concerning the lifetime membership of the Chairwoman of the Prize Committee.

Article 5.2 — Announcing the prize winner

The results of the committee’s deliberations will be made public through the usual media. Only authors whose works have been shortlisted will be notified.