The Young Writer’s Forum

has been selected as the national jury by the organizer of the European Union Prize for Literature.

European Prize for Literature 2023


The novel ‘Sampas’ has been nominated for the European Prize for Literature, awarded by the European Union through the Creative Europe programme, for 2023. Thirteen candidates have been nominated for this year’s European Union Prize for Literature. The winners will be announced during the Leipzig Book Fair. In addition to the awarded novel, according to the new rules regarding this award, five more novels from this selection will be singled out.

Ilija Đurović was born in 1990 in Podgorica, Montenegro. Đurović writes prose, poetry, plays and movie scripts. His first book of prose, ‘They Do It so Beautifully in Those Great Romantic Novels’, came out 2014 in Yellow Turtle Press, a small Montenegrin publishing house he runs. This was followed by ‘Black Fish’ (2016) and the poetry book ‘Brink’ (2018), which received an award at a literature festival in Belgrade. Đurović has been living in Berlin since 2013 and living as a versatile freelance author and publicist. In 2019 he was co-winner of the Montenegrin theatre award for the best contemporary drama, ‘Sleepers’. His first novel, ‘Sampas’, was shortlisted for NIN Award for Best Novel of the Year for 2021. 

© Mirko Radonjić

The novel ‘Sampas’ is written in the form of a road novel, where through fragment of a journey we follow the tale of two young people who travel through central and southern Montenegro, where they, as the main characters, illuminate the complexities of their individual fates, but also the collective experience of the spirit of the place and the time in which the story unfolds. The different events and internal sensations of the protagonists are conditioned by the social and political realities and the atmosphere of the tale, which strengthens their desire to leave Montenegro in search of a different, better life. The milieu within which the characters in the novel seek their ‘sampas’ (a local term symbolising freedom, but also wanderlust) is that of contemporary Montenegro, or the ex-Yugoslav context. Alongside the political references in the novel (the action takes place over an election weekend) ‘Sampas’ also works at the level of a love story, where the couple’s relationship is explored, and thus the story becomes an exploration of the idea of that relationship, indeed of all relationships.