Saturday, February 4, 2012

Awards, Awards, Awards + Events

The 2012 NOS Literary Prize was awarded yesterday to Igor’ Vishnevetskii’s Ленинград (Leningrad), a work that takes place during the beginning of the blockade of Leningrad and includes passages with documentary material and poetry. Vishnevetskii has cited inspirations such as characters in Andrei Bely’s novel Petersburg, whom he imagined in new situations, and Sergei Loznitsa’s film Блокада (Blockade). Though Leningrad is available online, from Novyi mir on Zhurnal’nyi zal, it doesn’t appear to have been published in book form. I hope that changes: I’d love to read Leningrad but it has the look of a complex work that I want to read as a physical book, not as a printout or file for the e-reader. I read portions of an interview with Vishnevetskii, who is also a poet and music historian, but had to stop: the book already intrigues me so I don’t want to know more! The NOS reader’s choice award went to Andrei Astvatsaturov for Скунскамера (Skunkamera). I listed NOS finalists in this previous post.

Another award: poet and prose writer Nikolai Kononov (whose novel The Flâneur was also on the Nose shortlist) won the Iurii Kazakov award for 2011 for his short story Аметисты (“Amethysts”), published by Znamia in August 2011.’s item about the award lists five other finalist stories, some of which are also available on Zhurnal’nyi zal. Three other stories—Vsevolod Benigsen’s “Глебов-младший” (perhaps “Glebov the Younger”… depending on context and tone), Leonid Iuzefovich’s “Поздний звонок. 1995” (“A Late Telephone Call. 1995”), and Marina Vishnevetskaia’s “Бабкин оклад” (“The Old Woman’s Icon Frame”… a quick glance makes it look like that’s the kind of “oklad” that’s intended, not a salary!)—were also published in Znamia. Ksenia Dragunskaia’s “Куртка Воннегута” (“Vonnegut’s Jacket” – the title plays on the Russian word for jacket, kurtka), appeared in Novyi mir in May 2011. The last story is Anna Matveeva’s “Обстоятельство времени” (perhaps “The Circumstance of Time”).

Academia Rossica wrote to ask if I would mention their fourth annual Rossica Young Translators Award. I’m very happy to: this is a wonderful competition that the organization says is “designed to inspire and encourage young translators from Russian around the world and expose them to the best of contemporary Russian literature.” Translators must be no older than 24 at the submission deadline, which is the ides of March. Entrants must translate one of three brief passages; the excerpts are taken from recent books by Viktor Pelevin, Figgle-Miggle, and Dmitri Bykov. Further information is available here.

Finally, Causa Artium will host five Russian writers at “Primary Sources” events in four locations on the East Coast: Washington, DC, on February 15, New York City on February 18, Bard College on February 20, and Boston (well, Cambridge...) on February 22. The writers are novelist Olga Slavnikova, who heads up the Debut Prize, and four Debut winners and finalists: Alisa Ganieva, Dmitry Biryukov, Irina Bogatyreva, and Igor Savelyev. I’ve enjoyed hearing Ganieva, Bogatyreva, and Savelyev speak at book fairs so am looking forward to the Boston event. Let me know if you’ll be there so I can look for you! All four events are free. And refreshments will be served. The event has a page on Facebook, here.

P.S. Here's an article from that analyzes jury discussion and lists votes. 

Up Next: Gleb Shul’pyakov’s Фес (Fez), a short novel that felt oddly beguiling or beguilingly odd last week, then hit a slow patch, then seemed to begin to shape up. We’ll see what happens tonight. Then, in preparation for Primary Sources, I think I’ll read Alisa Ganieva’s Салам тебе, Далгат, which was translated by Nicholas Allen as Salam, Dalgat! and credited to Ganieva’s pseudonym, Gulla Khirachev, in the Squaring the Circle anthology. Also coming: translation roundup and more Petersburg-Leningrad…

Disclosures: The usual... I know/have met with people from some of the organizations mentioned in this post. 


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