Following their participation to the EU Literature festival in Tokyo (22-25 Nov. 2018) four European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL) winning authors participated in a residency programme in Naha, Okinawa.

Organised by the EU delegation in Japan and EU Member States, the week-long event included the following authors:

  • Adam Foulds (EUPL Winner, 2011)
  • Lidija Dimkovska (EUPL Winner, 2013)
  • Jasmin B. Frelih (EUPL Winner, 2016)
  • Walid Nabhan (EUPL Winner, 2017)

The residency programme was the result of a partnership between DG EACthe Cultural Diplomacy platform and Cricao, leader of the Creative Europe project Colab Quarter. It gave the four authors the occasion to work outside their usual environments, and provided them with time to reflect and discover a new culture.

During the residency, authors explored the island of Okinawa –a place steeped in history unique culture, spirituality and rituals. The island is a strategic location, at the centre of many geopolitical issues – with American military bases housed in the territory, as well as North Korea and China in the vicinity. The integration of global and local, reflects the complexity of the contemporary world. Resilience was the theme of the residency.

The residency represented a unique, memorable and enlightening experience, one that no doubt will have a long-term impact on the authors’ life and work.

In the words of Lidija Dimkovska (EUPL Winner 2013), the experience was such that she has “a lot of materials and inspiration one day to write something concrete about my stay in Japan.”

20-minute documentary and interviews stemming from the residency are now available.

The EU and Japan launched a cultural policy dialogue in June 2018. The EUPL winners contribute in a concrete way to increased understanding between the two cultures.