Yesterday was an interesting day for the Russian Booker Prize… The big news was the announcement that the Booker has no more money because its 10-year sponsorship contract with BP – yes, the BP more formally known as British Petroleum – has ended. The Booker people are looking for new financial backing. I wonder if they’re searching for another sponsor with the initials BP.
A few hours later I saw that last year’s Russia Booker winner, Elena Koliadina’s Цветочный крест (The Cross of Flowers) “won” the Полный абзац (Complete Abzats) antiprize. Abzats awards recognize “all the worst in literature” and are presented by the newspaper Книжное обозрение (Book Review) (previous post with Abzats description/definition). Among other things, the award announcement cited Koliadina’s attempt to simultaneously sit on three genre “chairs”: women’s, historical, and grotesque. AST, which published The Cross of Flowers in book form, noted that the award recognized the journal version of the novel, not the AST version. Heaven forbid! Of course that very same journal version won the Booker (previous post). Alas, the journal version of the book is no longer available online.
As someone who follows the Booker at a distance, I found the Abzats announcement about the Koliadina book more than a little amusing, an exclamation point of sorts on the Booker bankruptcy announcement. My head is feeling slow and addled by Sudafed so I’ll stop there before I turn this post into a complete abzats of a mess.
Up next: When my wits are back I’ll write about Mikhail Shishkin’s Письмовник (Letter-Book) and Elena Chizhova’s Полукровка (Half-Breed or Half-Blood). And then Margarita Khemlin’s most recent book.