Šabach is best known for his tragicomic novels and short stories. Many popular Czech films have been based on his works, including Pelíšky (Cosy Dens) and Šakalí léta (Big Beat).
The award was established by the Czech PEN Club in 1994, when it was also presented for the first time. The prize is awarded every other year for prosaic, dramatic or essayistic work by a Czech author which comprehensibly contributes to reinforcing or maintaining democratic and humanist values in society.
The list of past winners includes Arnošt Lustig (1996), Jiří Kratochvil (1998), Ludvík Vaculík (2002), Václav Havel (2008), Ivan Klíma (2010) or recent Czech State Award for Literature laureate, Pavel Šrut (2012).