Saturday, March 1, 2014

Awards, Awards, Awards! (Pushkin’s Ghost Is Everywhere…)

A flurry of award activity crept up on me this week…

First off, critic Irina Rodnianskaia won this year’s Solzhenitsyn Prize. Rodnianskaia has been writing as a critic since 1956.

A little later in the week, Tatyana Tolstaya won the Belkin Award—which recognizes fiction that’s not to short and not too long—for “Лёгкие миры (“Light Worlds,” perhaps?), which she wrote for the magazine Snob. Maksim Osipov won Belkin’s “teachers’ jury” award for his Кейп-Код (Cape Cod); that jury was composed of high school teachers and upperclassmen. The other writers on this year’s Belkin shortlist were: Ilya Boiashov for Кокон (Cocoon), Iurii Buida for Яд и мед (Poison and Honey), and Denis Dragunskii for Архитектор и монах (The Architect and the Monk). I’ve only read Buida’s Poison and Honey, which I wrote about last week, here. Two other awards—each named for a story in Pushkin’s Belkin Tales—were also given: Yana Zhemoitelite won the “Squire’s Daughter” award for Недалеко от рая (Not Far from Paradise) and Aleksandr Kirov won the prize called “The Shot” for his Давай расстанемся на лето (Let’s Say Goodbye/Part for the Summer).

Finally, Academia Rossica announced the shortlist for the 2014 Rossica Prize for translation. I’ll list the nominees alphabetically by translator surname; the entire Rossica Prize longlist is online here.

Anthony Briggs for The Queen of Spades, a collection of works by Alexander Pushkin that includes the title story, “The Stationmaster,” “The Bronze Horseman,” and a selection of excerpts and poems. I’ve always particularly loved The Queen of Spades.” Publisher: Pushkin Press, appropriately enough!

Andrew Bromfield for Happiness Is Possible, a translation of Oleg Zaionchkovsky’s Счастье возможно, a book I enjoyed very much several years ago. Publisher: And Other Stories.

Robert and Elizabeth Chandler with Sibelan Forrester, Anna Gunin and Olga Meerson for Russian Magic Tales from Pushkin to Platonov. This sounds like a wonderful anthology of stories: you really can’t go wrong with Pushkin, Platonov, Teffi, and Bazhov. Publisher: Penguin Classics.

Peter Daniels for his translation of Selected Poems by Vladislav Khodasevich. Publisher: Angel Classics (UK)/The Overlook Press (US).

Angela Livingstone for Phaedra; with New Year’s Letter and Other Long Poems, a collection of poems by Marina Tsvetaeva. Publisher: Angel Classics.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the judges for this year’s Rossica Prize are Donald Rayfield, Andrew Kahn, and Oliver Ready. And that the award ceremony will be held on March 20 at The London Library; Oliver Ready, a past Rossica winner himself, whose new translation of Crime and Punishment was just released, will speak about “Cat and Mouse with Dostoevsky: The Translator as Detective.” I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Rossica Award event is listed on Academia Rossica’s schedule for yet another busy Slovo Festival, which will open on March 8 with a talk from Mikhail Shishkin on “Gogol’s Dead Souls and Living Noses.” If only I had an unlimited travel budget!

Disclaimers: The usual.

Up Next: List of new translations for 2014. Alexey Motorov’s Юные годы медбрата Паровозова, fictionalized autobiography that won the 2013 NOSE reader prize. When the book was shortlisted for NOSE, I wrote that it sounded like “very decent mainstream”… and I’m now finding out I was correct.


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