This year, on 17 December, the Principal Prince Claus Award of EUR100,000 will be presented to the Algerian publisher Barzakh Editions at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In addition, ten other laureates will be presented with awards of EUR25,000 at ceremonies in their respective countries by Ambassadors of the Netherlands. Since 1997, the Prince Claus Fund has given annual awards to artists, intellectuals and cultural organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. The 2010 Prince Claus Awards are announced today to commemorate the birthday of Prince Claus (6 September 1926 - 6 October 2002). Barzakh Editions is an independent publisher in Algiers that has created a platform for a new generation of Algerian writers, thereby opening the doors for an exchange of ideas between Algeria and the rest of the world. Barzakh Editions was established in 2000 by Sofiane Hadjadj and Selma Hellal in the aftermath of Algeria's black decade of violence.
During and after the black decade, numerous Algerian writers emigrated for reasons of cultural isolation, economic crisis and political violence. As a result, a considerable amount of Algerian literature is published outside of Algeria, making it expensive and unavailable for much of the population.
Barzakh Editions has succeeded in creating breathing space in the deadlock between an authoritarian state and a powerful Islamic movement. Driven by a passion for books and the conviction that freedom of speech and thought are essential to the development of the country, Sofiane Hadjadj and Selma Hellal have made the work of local and exiled authors accessible and affordable. They have released more than 110 publications in Algeria, many of which have been translated and published in other African and European countries.
The Award honours Barzakh Editions for providing Algerians with a voice, for facilitating the much-needed critical reflection on Algerian reality, for building a bridge between various languages and cultures, and for creating a beacon for the country's creative potential.