Call for Applications 2024


The CEI Award for Young Writers is promoted by the Central European Initiative (CEI) and the Slovene Writers’ Association (SWA) within the Vilenica International Literary Festival.
The Award aims at promoting the young generation of writers and supporting the circulation of their literary works through the translation in the languages of the CEI countries. The Award envisages the translation into Slovene[1] and the translation into another CEI language of the candidate’s choice. Additional translations could be explored for the future editions of the Award.


The CEI Award for Young Writers includes cash and in-kind prizes:

  • Cash prize (5,000 EUR) to cover the full translation of the submitted work and of an excerpt into the language of one of the CEI Member States to be selected by the author and the publishing house, considering the specifics of the work. The translation shall be coordinated by the applicant in cooperation with the national publishing house supporting his/her candidature. The prize also covers the cost of copyright.
  • Translation of the submitted work into Slovene language and publication by the SWA within the Vilenica CEI Collection in 2025. The prize covers the cost of copyright for the translation into Slovene.
  • Participation of the winner in the Vilenica International Literary Festival 2024, organised by the SWA.
  • Cooperation and support of the CEI and the SWA to identify a publishing house for a possible publication of the translated work.

Eligible applicants

The Call for Applications is open to writers under 40 (born after 1984 – from 1 January 1985 onwards) from the CEI Member States: Albania, Belarus[2], Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

Applicants must have at least one work published in a book form. The submitted work for the translation must be a literary work (all genres and themes). The application must be supported by the national publisher of the work with which the author is applying.

How to apply

The application must include all the following obligatory enclosures:

  • A filled in registration form (here-to attached).
  • A biography of the applicant in English (max. 1800 characters without spaces).
  • Copy of a valid ID or passport with the visible date and place of birth, and the citizenship of the applicant.
  • A bibliography of the applicant in English (max. 3600 characters without spaces).
  • Scan of original signed letter of recommendation in English written by the applicant’s national publisher that includes the presentation of the applicant and the proposed work of the applicant (4000 – 8000 characters without spaces).
  • An excerpt from the proposed work in the original CEI Member State language and in English (max.100 lines of POETRY or max. 7000-9000 characters with spaces of PROSE TEXT).
  • Incomplete entries will not be considered.

Applications must be sent to the following e-mail address:


Applications shall be submitted by 16 June 2024 (23:59 CEST). 

Evaluation procedure and awarding

  • The international committee will consider entries sent on or before 16 June 2024.
  • Entries will be evaluated according to the following criterion: 30% (3 points) for the bibliography, 20% (2 points) for the letter of recommendation with presentation of the applicant and of the proposed work that will be translated and 50% (5 points) for the excerpt from the same work, in original CEI Member State language and translated into English.
  • All the candidates will be notified of the decision of the committee by 31 July 2024.
  • The awarding ceremony will take place within the Vilenica Festival.
  • The award will be transferred in two instalments: the first one (2,500 EUR) in conjunction with the awarding ceremony, the second one (2,500 EUR) upon completion of the translation and submission of updated information concerning contacts with possible publishers to
  • The winner and the national publishing house must provide a sample translation of an excerpt from the awarded work by 30 November 2024. The excerpt should be translated into the language of one of the CEI Member States to be selected by the author and the publishing house, considering the specifics of the work. The translation costs must be covered from the awarded financial means.
  • The winner is requested to provide a written report by May 2025 to .

Questions may be sent via e-mail no later than 14 days before the deadline to:


The Central European Initiative (CEI) is a regional intergovernmental forum committed to supporting European integration and sustainable development through cooperation between and among its Member States and with the European Union, international and regional organisations as well as with other public or private institutions and non-governmental organisations. While acting as a platform for political dialogue, the CEI has developed a strong operational, result-oriented approach to regional cooperation. It combines multilateral diplomacy and fund, programme and project management as both donor and recipient. The everyday CEI activities are handled by the CEI-Executive Secretariat in Trieste, including the development and implementation of projects. In December 2011, the CEI was granted the observer status in the General Assembly of the United Nations. 

The Slovene Writers’ Association produces and carries out contemporary public programmes in the field of literature. With a wide array of programmes and activities, it represents the most active organisation and the main centre of literary activity in Slovenia. The role of principal operator of public programmes in literature is also recognized by the Slovenian Book Agency with their active support and regular financing. The beginnings of the association can be traced back to 1872, when authors started to organise, but it took the current name in 1968. It was presided by distinguished Slovene writers. The Slovene Writers’ Association promotes creative freedom, acts as advocate to improve the status of Slovene literature and writers, and brings together writers from the entire Slovene cultural space, regardless of the borders. Always critical and creative, the association has helped make significant changes in the Slovene social and cultural space and life. It was very active during Slovenia’s quest for independence and the formation of the young country. The association fosters regular relations with international writers and carries out internationally acclaimed programmes.

The Vilenica International Literary Festival, a gathering of poets, prose writers, playwrights and essayists, but also translators, publishers, editors and critics from Central Europe and beyond is organised by the Slovene Writers’ Association in collaboration with the Cultural Society Vilenica from Sežana. Since the first Vilenica international festival in 1986, the climax of the event has been the presentation of the Vilenica International Literary Prize, awarded by the Slovene Writers’ Association to a Central European author for outstanding achievements in the field of literature and essay writing. Vilenica Prize Winners include: Fulvio Tomizza, Peter Handke, Peter Esterházy, Jan Skácel, Tomas Venclova, Zbigniew Herbert, Milan Kundera, Libuše Moníková, Josip Osti, Adolf Muschg, Adam Zagajewski, Pavel Vilikovský, Peter Nádas, Erica Pedretti, Slavko Mihalić, Jaan Kaplinski, Ana Blandiana, Mirko Kovač, Brigitte Kronauer, Karl-Markus Gauss, Ilma Rakusa, Miodrag Pavlović, Goran Stefanovski, Andrzej Stasiuk, Claudio Magris, Dževad Karahasan, Mircea Cărtărescu, David Albahari, Olga Tokarczuk, László Krasznahorkai, Jáchym Topol, Dubravka Ugrešić, Yuri Andrukhovyc, Ilija Trojanow, Dragan Velikić, Mila Haugová, Josef Winkler, Amanda Aizpuriete and Ottó Tolnai.

The Vilenica CEI collection consists of works by writers who have, since 2006, been Central European Initiative Writer in Residence award recipients. The purpose of the award and of the present collection is to help readers discover exciting new literary voices of European literature as well as to strengthen cross-border cooperation and literary promotion.

[1] If the awarded author comes from Slovenia, the Award envisages the translation into English and the translation into another CEI language of the candidate’s choice.

[2] Belarus suspended