Sunday, April 29, 2012

More Award News: Russian Prize Winners & Big Book Long List

Another spring month, another post about awards… this time it’s winners of the Russian Prize plus the long long list for the Big Book Award.

The Russian Prize is awarded to writers who write in Russian but live outside Russia. Yuz Aleshkovsky won in the long fiction category for his Маленький тюремный роман (A Little Prison Novel). It’s been on the shelf waiting for me for a few months… which isn’t so long, considering I’ve been meaning to read Aleshkovsky for years. The other long fiction winners were Darya Vilke for Межсезонье (Off Season) and Lena Eltang for Другие барабаны (Other Drums).

The short fiction winner was Dmitry Vachedin for the short story collection Пыль (Dust), with second prize going to Maria Rybakova for the novel in verse Гнедич (Gnedich), and third to Evgenii Abdullaev for the novella Год барана (Year of the Sheep). The top poetry award went to Ilya Rissenberg for Третий из двух (The Third of Two), followed by Alexei Tsvetkov for Детектор смысла (Sense Detector) and Feliks Chechik for Из жизни фауны и флоры (From the Life of Fauna and Flora).

Now for the Big Book long list. And all these awards programs really do put the “long” in the long list: Big Book claims this year’s list contains 46 books, three of which are manuscripts listed without author names. I’ll just trust their count. And I won’t list everybody. A few names that popped out:

Lena Eltang’s Other Drums is on the list as are two books that recently made the 2012 NatsBest short list: Marina Stepnova’s Женщцны Лазаря (excerpt) (The Women of Lazarus) and Sergei Nosov’s Франсуаза, или Путь к леднику (Françoise, Or the Way to the Glacier); Figgle-Miggle’s Ты так любишь эти фильмы (You Love Those Films So Much) was on last year’s NatsBest short list. Nikolai Kononov’s Фланёр (The Flâneur) and Nikolai Baitov’s Думай, что говоришь (Think When You Speak) were both shortlisted for the 2012 NOSE award.

I’ve only read one book on the list: Roman Senchin’s Information, which I wrote about here. I’ve also read bits of Oleg Pavlov’s Дневник больничного охранника (Diary of a Hospital Guard), which felt a little too intense to read in the PDF Pavlov sent to me.

There are several books by authors whose previous books I’ve particularly enjoyed: Vladimir Makanin’s Две сестры и Кандинский (Two Sisters and Kandinsky), Zakhar Prilepin’s Черная обезьяна (The Black Monkey), and Vsevolod Benigsen’s ВИТЧ (VITCh). A few more: Alexander Ilichevsky’s Анархисты ( [The?] Anarchists), Elena Chizhova’s Терракотовая старуха (The Terracotta Old Lady), and Sergei Samsonov’s Проводник электричества (Conductor of Electricity).

I could go on and on… but I’ll just note that the Big Book covers fiction and nonfiction. And mention that the books on the long list were selected from a total of 401 (!!) works. The short list will be announced on May 31, and winners will be named by November 30.

Disclosures: The usual.

Up Next: Andrei Rubanov’s All That Glitters. Rubanov is also on the Big Book long list, for Стыдные подвиги (Shameful Feats). I hope to get back to my usual reading pace soon, now that I’ve finished a couple of projects and my teaching semester is winding down.


  1. As always, reading your blog makes me want to read more than I'll ever manage to - thanks for the post!

    Isn't Chizhova's novel from терракотта/terra cotta rather than теракт? Not that I understand that title any better after reading the summary you link to...

  2. Thank you very much, xixvek, for your comment and for noticing my utterly stupid mistake with that title! I fixed the translation, which still sounds very inelegant.

    In case anyone's interested, here's the summary that xixvek refers to; I think part of my problem with this title is that, without reading the book, it sounds like "terrorist" fits this character more than "terracotta"!

    Of course I was curious to find out if I was the only one who's made this mistake... and was interested to see that the book is listed in a few library catalogues, including one in Vologda, as Террактовая старуха. It's nice to have company, even if the mistake is still dumb!

  3. Lisa, I have also read that title the wrong way more times than I care to admit (though here I am admitting it!) - so you are certainly not the only one. But I'm relieved to report that my library has it correct:

    1. Shelley F-V, it's interesting to know that you also misread the title! It's strange: my eye just seems to glide over that first о even when I know what the correct title is.

      But all's well that ends well: good for your library for getting the title correct!