The Russian Booker Prize has a new general sponsor, Российская корпорация средств связи, known as Russian Telecom Equipment Company in English. RTEC has a history of supporting literary awards: it began sponsoring the Student Booker in 2010 and has been involved with that program for seven years, according to a news story on Lenta.ru. Lenta also reports that a five-year sponsorship contract with the Booker may be signed this summer.
No Booker will be awarded for 2011; books released this year may be submitted for the 2012 prize season. The Booker will, however, hold a special “Booker of the Decade” competition in 2011. All shortlisted books from 2001-2010 are eligible. Judges from past Booker seasons will choose five works each to develop a shortlist that will be announced in early November. The winner will be announced on December 1; the prize will be 600,000 rubles.
The Booker site has a summary of rules plus a list of all eligible Booker of the Decade books online here. There are lots of books on the list that I’d love to see get more (or less!) attention… and I’d be interested in hearing reader predictions.
For my part, I’m about to start reading Oleg Pavlov’s Казенная сказака (A Barracks Tale or Military Apologue), a 1995 Booker finalist and the first book of a trilogy that culminated in Карагандинские девятины, или Повесть последних дней (A Ninth-Day Wake/Party at Karaganda or A Story of Recent Days or Commemoration in Karaganda), which won the Booker in 2002. (Oy, there are multiple translated titles floating around for these books!) Readers on the lookout for English-language translations will be happy to know that A Barracks Tale is listed as winning a translation grant from Transcript, a program of the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation; publisher is And Other Stories.