Background

Premise

Written language is a fairly recent form of expression. For centuries it remained a skill reserved only for the privileged few. Not that long ago, in fact, the term ‘writer’ was used to refer to someone who was paid to commit to paper the words of others, who had no command of writing.

Nowadays the world has writers who express, in their own words, what matters to them. Literary writers have moreover mastered the art of doing so in an unusually creative or innovative manner. Thriving literature is needed to keep a language alive. The rise of visual and computer language does not detract from this. On the contrary.

Civilization

Eva Tas held the conviction that human ingenuity ultimately prevails over ideologies and racism, which she encountered frequently as a communist and a Jew. That is why the unobstructed exchange of thoughts among people, be they from the same society or from different ones, was essential to her. The curbing of that freedom is damaging not only to democracy and to people’s happiness, but also to the mutual trust and understanding among different peoples.

Books pave the way for this ideal. Nations who read each other’s literature know each other and will, at most, fight each other with words and not with weapons. From this perspective our executive board, supported by the advisory council, looks forward to projects that are eligible for our efforts and action.

Eva Tas

Eva Tas considered the Nazi book burning on 10 May 1933, when she was seventeen, to be the most traumatic experience of her youth. As a gymnasium pupil she had become acquainted with the meaning of writing and writers at an early age. In writing we express our deepest feelings; we record as accurately as possible how we think about something; we articulate our problems, convey our opinions and substantiate our convictions.

For that reason writing provides people with a unique opportunity to become better acquainted with each other, to understand each other and to live together in peace. Eva understood that this opportunity can only be put to use when writers are at liberty to write what they wish and when readers have access to everything that has been written.