Saturday, February 6, 2021

NOS(E) Awards Go to Gorbunova and Barskova

The NOS(E) Award held its annual ceremony last week, presenting its jury prize to Alla Gorbunova for her Конец света, моя любовь (The End of the World, My Love). The critics’ panel prize went to Polina Barskova for her Седьмая щелочь: тексты и судьбы блокадных поэтов (The Seventh Alkali [a sort of cleansing wave/wash]: The Texts and Fates of Blockade Poets). The readers’ choice award went to Ragim Dzhafarov’s Сато (Sato). I haven’t (yet) read any of the books but have a few notes to add...

  • Languagehat is way ahead of me on reading Gorbunova. He blogged about The End of the World, My Love last summer, here. I did, finally, buy Вещи и ущи, which is winging (or maybe swimming?) its way to me from Russia. I’ve never been very good about keeping at short story collections but Gorbunova’s books look and sound promising.
  • Words Without Borders published “#Russophonia: New Writing in Russia” last week and the selection includes several of Gorbunova’s stories from Вещи и ущи, which translator Elina Alter calls Ings & Oughts. There is also video of Gorbunova reading one of the stories. Here’s the title page for “#Russophonia”. And there’s more! Kelly Writers House hosted an online “#Russophonia” program that you can watch here. There’s lots of good stuff in both places!
  • Deep Vellum will be publishing translations of Gorbunova’s two story collections. (This is a very recent signing; I know nothing else!)

Up Next: Most likely Vodolazkin’s Оправдание Острова, which I’m rereading (a printed copy is such a relief!) and which I think I’ll continue calling History of Island, at least for now. As I’ve mentioned before, recent months have brought lots of unexpected and/or unsolicited electronic and print books, resulting in some weird reading habits! I’m hoping for an on-paper reread of one of those unexpected books very soon, too.

Disclaimers & Disclosures: The usual, for a couple of the figures and entities mentioned in this post.


  1. Well-deserved awards! I'm glad you're going to be reading Gorbunova, and I would encourage you to think of Конец света, моя любовь as a novel in stories rather than a story collection -- it features a set of characters that keep featuring in various stories and plot lines that get referenced in multiple stories, so it's not like (say) a Tolstaya collection.

    1. Thank you for checking in, Languagehat! I will definitely keep what you say in mind for Конец света, thank you for the reminder. I often do very nicely with linked stories -- particularly when there are recurring characters -- so very much hope this book will work for me!