Lettre Ulysses Award for the art of reportage

First Press Release 2005 (English)

Berlin, 4th July 2005

(Click here for versions in German, French, and Spanish.)

Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage 2005:
New jury agrees upon nominations for the longlist

The jury of the Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage met over the weekend of June 25-26 to decide upon this year’s nominations. Eighteen texts from Argentina, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Morocco, the People’s Republic of China, Peru, Taiwan, and the USA were nominated for the longlist.

The members of the polyglot jury are:

Svetlana Alexievitch (Belarus): journalist, filmmaker, playwright
Gamal Al-Ghitany (Egypt): novelist, essayist, journalist
Mark Danner (USA): war reporter, essayist, editor
Isabel Hilton (Great Britain): reporter, writer, radio broadcaster
Lung Yingtai (Taiwan): literary critic, essayist, literature professor
Pankaj Mishra (India): novelist, literary critic
Anne Nivat (France): reporter, writer
Sergio Ramírez (Nicaragua): writer, journalist
Pedro Rosa Mendes (Portugal): reporter, writer
Ilija Trojanow (Germany): writer, reporter, publisher

The nominations for the longlist are, in alphabetical order (author, country of origin, title, publisher, first place and date of publication, translated title):

Yasser Abd Alhafez (Egypt): Kurdistan. The Paradise that Saddam Distorted Re-Opens its Gates, Akhbar al-Adab Magazine, Cairo, 10/2004
Anonymous (Riverbend) (Iraq): Baghdad Burning. A Girl Blog from Iraq, The Feminist Press at the City University of New York, New York, 2005. In the UK published by Marion Boyars, London, 2005.
Jon Lee Anderson (USA): The Fall of Baghdad, Penguin Press, New York, 2004
Geneviève Bédoucha (France): Éclipse de lune au Yémen. Émotions et désarrois d’une ethnologue, Odile Jacob, Paris, 2004 [Lunar Eclipse in the Yemen. Emotions and Confusions of an Ethnologist]
Anne Brunswic (France): Bienvenue en Palestine. Chroniques d’une saison à Ramallah, Actes Sud, Arles, 2005 [Welcome to Palestine! Diary of a Stay in Ramallah]
Wolfgang Büscher (Germany): Berlin-Moskau. Eine Reise zu Fuß, Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg, 2003 [Berlin-Moscow. A Journey on Foot]
Chang Ping-I (Taiwan): Outside the World. Days at the Leseng Sanatorium, The Wings of Hope Publishing House, Taipei, 2004
Carolin Emcke (Germany): Von den Kriegen. Briefe an Freunde, S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main, 2004 [Of Wars. Letters to Friends]
Alexandra Fuller (Great Britain): Scribbling the Cat. Travels with an African Soldier, Penguin Press, New York, 2004
Abdellah Hammoudi (Morocco): Une saison à la Mecque. Récit de pèlerinage, Seuil, Paris, 2004 [A Season in Mecca. Account of a Pilgrimage]
Svetlana Kalinkina & Pavel Sheremet (Belarus): Sluchainyi president, Limbus Press, St. Petersburg, 2003 [The Accidental President]
Alaa Khaled (Egypt): Everything Happens Quietly With No Surprises, Amkun Magazine, Cairo, 12/2004
William Langewiesche (USA): The Outlaw Sea. A World of Freedom, Chaos, and Crime, North Point Press, New York, 2004. Published in the UK under the title The Outlaw Sea. Chaos and Crime on the World’s Oceans, Granta Books, London, 2005.
Liu Haijun (China): The Shu Xingbei Files. The Fate of a Genius Physicist, Writer’s Publishing House, Peking, 2005
Suketu Mehta (India): Maximum City. Bombay Lost And Found, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2004
Ricardo Uceda (Peru): Muerte en el pentagonito. Los cementerios secretos del Ejército Peruano, Editorial Planeta, Bogotá, 2004 [Death in the Little Pentagon. The Secret Killing Fields of the Peruvian Army]
Horacio Verbitsky (Argentina): El silencio. De Paulo VI a Bergoglio. Las relaciones de la Iglesia con la ESMA, Editorial Sudamericana, Buenos Aires, 2005 [The Silence. From Paul VI to Bergoglio. The Relations of the Church with ESMA]
William T. Vollmann (USA): Rising Up and Rising Down. Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means, Ecco, New York, 2004

The only international award for the art of reportage – journalism at its best
The Lettre Ulysses Award is the only international award for the genre of literary reportage. The award was initiated in 2003, and is organized by the cultural journal Lettre International in association with the Aventis Foundation, and in partnership with the Goethe-Institut. The prize has a total annual endowment of €100,000. In addition to the monetary prizes, there are four working grants for visits to Berlin, funded by the Goethe-Institut. The award is the only international literary prize that is based in the German capital. The intended aim of the award is to encourage the genre of literary reportage, to draw international attention to its extraordinary achievements, and to provide financial, moral and symbolic support to the reporters.
The prize is awarded annually and has gained a worldwide reputation over the past two years.

Outlook 2005
The winners will be announced on 15th October at an award ceremony at Berlin’s TIPI venue, in the presence of the jurors, finalists and 500 guests from the worlds of literature, politics, media and business.

Previous award winners
In 2003 the prize went to Russia’s Anna Politkovskaya for Tchétchénie, le déshonneur russe, and in 2004 the Chinese couple Chen Guidi and Wu Chuntao were awarded the prize for their spectacular book A Survey of Chinese Peasants.

The jury: polyglot, professional, independent
The distinguished jury attempts to track down the best texts published worldwide in the genre of literary reportage. The polyglot jury consists exclusively of writers who are familiar with the genre of literary reportage and this year represents nine of the largest linguistic areas in the world. The working language of the jury is English. Nominated texts must have been published for the first time within the last two years, and all languages are eligible. A gradual process of nomination, assessment, discussion and decision-making guarantees the competent evaluation of the texts. The composition of the jury varies annually.

International committee
An advisory committee supports the Lettre Ulysses Award. Members of the committee include the German writer Günter Grass, the Polish reportage author Ryszard Kapuscinski, the French ethnologist Jean Malaurie, and the Indian writer Nirmal Verma.

Further information
Information about the prize winners, nominated texts, media coverage, project concept, jury and working procedures can be found at www.lettre-ulysses-award.org. We would be happy to send a DVD of the 2004 award ceremony upon your request. The film contains numerous interviews with the writers, as well as the key-note speech of the evening by the Tunisian-French poet Abdelwahab Meddeb.


Foundation Lettre International Award
Frank Berberich, Esther Gallodoro
Elisabethhof Portal 3 b, Erkelenzdamm 59/61, D - 10999 Berlin
Tel: +49 (0) 30 - 30 87 04 – 52/ -61, Fax: +49 (0) 30 - 283 31 28, Email: lettre@lettre.de

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"The human depth of literary reportage communicates more to us than the news on CNN. This depth can only develop because the authors had time for their work, time that allowed them to understand situations and backgrounds."Abdourahman Waberi (jury member 2003 & 2004)