Saturday, January 29, 2011

Awards, Awards, Awards, January 2011 Edition

The end of the week brought announcements on several Russian literary awards:

The 2011 NOSE Award went to Vladimir Sorokin for Метель (The Blizzard). A jury and experts publicly debated three finalists – The Blizzard, Pavel Nerler’s The Word and “Deed”, and Viktor Pelevin’s T – but reported that viewers chose the winner because the vote was tied after the jury and experts voted. Though I’m not a big fan of The Blizzard (previous post), I think its many literary references give it a certain homey appeal. I posted brief descriptions of NOSE Award longlisters here.

The Yury Kazakov Prize for best short story of the year went to Maksim Osipov for Москва-Петрозаводск (“Moscow-Petrozavodsk”), published in the journal Знамя. Osipov’s collection, Грех жаловаться (which I like thinking of as Can’t Complain), which looks like it mixes fiction and nonfiction, has been nominated for other awards, including the afore-mentioned NOSE Award. Other shortlisters for the Kazakov prize were Iurii Buida, Alisa Ganieva, Artur Kudashev, and German Sadulaev. Links to their stories are on here.

Finally, the Belkin Prize announced the shortlist for its annual award, which recognizes the best повесть of the year. A brief digression since the “povest’” category is a little tricky: a loose translation of my Ozhegov dictionary definition calls a povest’ a narrative literary work that’s less complicated than a novel. When I write about povesti, I usually call them short novels or novellas. For reference, Sorokin’s Blizzard is a povest’ but his Oprichnik book is a novel, at least according to the books themselves. Related words include повествование/povestvovanie, which is storytelling, narrative, or narration.

So… the Belkin nominees are Anna Nemzer for Плен (Captivity), Sergei Krasil’nikov for Critical Strike (love those English titles!), Afanasii Mamedov for У мента была собака (The Cop Had a Dog), Ivan Naumov for Мальчик с саблей (The Boy with the Sabre), and Alisa Ganieva (Gulla Khirachev) for Салам тебе, Долгат! (Salaam, Dolgat!). The only writer I’ve read thus far is Mamedov, whose Фрау Шрам (Frau Scar) I enjoyed last fall (previous post). As you can see from all the links, the shortlisted works are all available online in literary journals... this is where my new electronic reader will come in very handy!


  1. Great information, as always. After glancing at the beginning of Maksim Osipov's story "Москва - Петрозаводск," I quickly printed it off to read this weekend. Judging by the opening paragraphs, it concerns a trip to Petrozavodsk to attend an academic conference, which as it so happens is something I've done myself. What better reason to read than solipsism?

  2. Thanks, Jamie! I'd love to hear what you think of the Osipov story... I understand about the solipsism! Of course the first of the Belkin nominees that I went for was Mamedov's, which immediately mentions Baku, one of my favorite places to visit.

    Happy reading!

  3. To follow up on my previous comment: I did finally getting around to reading Osipov's story, and it was quite gripping. I'm still sorting out the implications of some of the final scenes.

    I was reminded of Osipov's story when I saw his new collection ("Крик домашней птицы") included in's list of important books in March.

  4. Oops, I meant to give the link for the OpenSpace list:

  5. Thank you for checking back, Jamie. That sounds like a "recommend" to me.

    Here's the OpenSpace link. (The link you pasted in is slightly truncated and leads to an item about Radiohead!) The OpenSpace story, BTW, has a link to an excerpt from Pavel Peppershtein's Пражская ночь, one of the books on the NatsBest long list.