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‘Zinc’ by David Van Reybrouck wins Prix du livre européen

The French translation (by Philippe Noble) of ‘Zinc’ by David Van Reybrouck has been awarded the prestigious Prix du livre européen. Although the book was shortlisted in the category ‘nonfiction’, the jury, led by German movie director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (‘Das Leben der Anderen’), liked its literary style so much that it won in the ‘novel’ category. Previous laureates include Roberto Saviano, Javier Cercas, Robert Menasse and Tony Judt.

David Van Reybrouck is most well-known for Congo, in which he chronicles the turbulent history of the former Belgian colony. He currently also receives a lot of attention for A Jihad for Love, which tells the story of a man who lost his wife in the terrorist attacks on the subway in Brussels.

Zinc is set in Neutral Moresnet, a completely forgotten mini-state that is now part of German-speaking Belgium but from 1816 to 1919 had its own flag, its own government and even its own national anthem (in Esperanto, no less). David Van Reybrouck tells the remarkable story of this forgotten country, based on the improbable fate of one of its citizens. The book is also available in German (Suhrkamp) and an Italian and Esperanto translation are being prepared.

The award ceremony took place on the evening of 6 December 2017 in the European Parliament.

Dec 6th, 2017