Laureate - 2019
Ana Blandiana, born in 1942 in Timisoara, poet, essayist and prose writer, civic right activist is almost legendary figure in Romanian culture. She has authored eighteen books of poetry, two of short stories, seven books of essays and one novel that have been translated into twenty-six languages and grouped into eighty books of poetry and prose to date. Blandiana was co-founder and President of the Civic Alliance from 1990, an independent non-political organisation that fought for freedom and democratic change. She also re-founded and became President of the Romanian PEN Club in 1990. Under the aegis of the European Community, she created the Memorial for the Victims of Communism (1993), distinguished with the European Heritage label. In recognition of her contribution to European culture and her valiant fight for human rights, Blandiana was awarded the highest distinction of the French Republic, the Légion d’Honneur (2009) while the US State Department distinguished her with the Romanian Women of Courage Award (2014). She holds four doctor honoris causa awards. Among the numerous international literary prizes, Blandiana is still the youngest recipient of the Herder Prize (Vienna 1982), and was awarded the European Poet of Freedom Prize (Gdansk 2016), and The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry (Toronto 2017).