The Lettre Ulysses Award, launched in 2003 by Lettre International, a culture journal, the Aventis Foundation and the Goethe Institut, is a world prize for literary reportage. Every year three main prizes are awarded for the best three literary reportage pieces which bring international attention to the themes.
The winner of this year’s prize, awarded in Berlin, was the British based Linda Grant, who describes herself as a “non-religious Diaspora Jew”, whose “The People on the Street. A Writer’s View of Israel”, Virago Press, London, 2006 explores Jewish identity.
The second prize was won by the French writer Erik Orsenna, with “Voyage aux pays du coton. Petit précis de mondialisation”, Fayard, Paris, 2006 [Journey to the Lands of Cotton. A Brief Manual of Globalisation]. The writer takes the reader on a fascinating journey of the cotton industry, through Mali, Brazil, Egypt, France, China, the USA, looking at how the industry affects the livelihoods of the hundreds of millions of people who depend on it.
Colombias’ Juanita Leon won third prize with “País de plomo. Crónicas de guerra”, Aguilar, 2005 [“Country of Bullets. War Diaries”], which explores Colombia's civil war which has raged since 1948, following its developments and the main forces and influences involved.
Other finalists were
KARL-MARKUS GAUß, Austria: “Die Hundeesser von Svinia”, Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Vienna, 2004 [“The Dog Eaters of Svinia”].
LI DATONG, China: “‘Bingdian’ Gushi”, Guangxi Shifan Daxue Chubanshe, 2005 [The Story of “Freezing Point”, Guangxi Normal University Press].
* MANJUSHREE THAPA, Nepal: “Forget Kathmandu: An Elegy for Democracy”, Penguin Viking India, New Delhi, 2005.
* ZHOU QING, China: “Min Yihe Shi Wei Tian. Zhongguo Shipin Anquan Xianzhuang Diaocha”, ‘Bangao Wenxue’, 9/2004 [“What Kind of God. A Survey of the Current Safety of China’s Food”, in: ‘Reportage Literature’ 9/2004].
The members of the 2006 jury were: Gamal al-Ghitany (Egypt), Andrei Bitov (Russia), Urvashi Butalia (India), Nedim Gürsel, (Turkey), Isabel Hilton (Great Britain), Anne Nivat (France), Sergio Ramírez (Nicaragua), Pedro Rosa Mendes (Portugal), Ilija Trojanow (Germany), Yang Lian (China).