The Gjenima Prize

The long-established Gjenima Prize is awarded as an "expression of thanks to the majestic spirit of the written word in the interest of the human race."

The internationally oriented prize recognizes the creator of an important body of literary work or a single major literary achievement that has played, or has major potential to play, a beneficial role in current history.

Since its founding in 2004, the annual prize has been granted to a diverse range of world authors whose use of the written word gives catalyzing access to pivotal perspectives and life experiences.

In the current century, much of the world is literate. Yet the written word is at risk, mirroring ethical and existential risks faced by humanity as a whole. Literature can redeem the word and refresh the imagery, narratives and themes of our communities and lives.

Gjenima Prize recipients and candidates include writers of poetry as well as prose, of fiction as well as non-fiction. The prize has been received by many writers of renown both in and beyond their native countries and languages. However, a wide reputation is not a prerequisite for candidacy.

A Gjenima Prize recipient must have produced writing reflecting a spirit of independence, bravery and generosity. Transcending purely national scopes of reference and influence, such writers speak as members of a family of literature that goes beyond specific ethnicity or origin.

The Gjenima Prize does not favor any particular authorial stance. Yet the writers it honors tend to avoid paths of compromise, convenience or the line of least resistance. Writers frequently come into direct or implied conflict with their environments and the incumbent world. Authentic writing equates to nonconformity, a parting of ways, often necessitating the acceptance of isolation or exile. Yet the Gjenima Prize also celebrates literary sublimation as leverage for imaginative peacemaking and creative diplomacy.

The Gjenima Prize is administered by a committee that includes literary and academic figures, with Dr. Gjeke Marinaj and Mary Yeh serving as committee chairs. Award decisions are made by the Gjenima Prize committee.

Because we care about writers and writing, our prize organizers strive to make each year's award a special event for the recipient and the public, both internationally and indigenously for each honoree. In addition to an official announcement, the winning writer may opt to receive the prize's diploma, personalized medal and commemorative gift during an award ceremony in the recipient's own location.

In such cases, wherever on Earth the writer resides or prefers to arrange the ceremony, the prize committee will cover the costs and time investment for a delegate's travel to the location, and will organize the ceremony itself.

This way of marking the occasion of awards can be particularly meaningful where the creative and cultural communities and observers generally best informed about the writers' work, as well as friends, family and other interested audiences, can most readily share in celebrations. Such gatherings can also add to how the awardees are understood elsewhere in the world.

Gjenima Laureates

2023 - Angela De Leo (Italy)
2022 - Kochkar Narkabil (Uzbekistan)
2021 - Choi Dongho (South Korea)
2020 - Geetesh Sharma (India)
2019 - Pornpen Hantrakool (Thailand)
2018 - Eva Muckova (Slovakia)
2017 - Pjeter Dreshaj (Montonegro)
2016 - Dalan Luzaj (Albania)
2015 - Radomir Andric (Serbia)
2014 - Ana Blandiana (Romania)
2013 - Bashir Copti (Palestine)
2012 - Jack Hirschman (USA)
2011 - Stefanos Tassopoulos (Greece)
2010 - Solomon Deressa (Ethiopia)
2009 - Raúl Rivero Castañeda (Cuba)
2008 - Ali Podrimja (Kosovo)
2007 - Olga Slavnikova (Russia)
2006 - Constance Rooke (Canada)
2005 - Zsuzsanna Ozsváth (Hungary / USA)
2005 - Frederick Turner (England / USA)
2004 - Maria Cristina Vilanova (Guatemala)