The Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award, named after Leo Tolstoy’s estate in the Tula Region (200km from Moscow), has revealed a long list of contenders for its Foreign Literature category. It includes five authors from the UK and 10 writers from the U.S., as well as those from France, India, Italy, and Israel covering a total of 28 literary works translated into Russian. The list was announced on March 16 in Moscow.
English writer Julian Barnes’ novel about great Russian composer Dimitry Shostakovich, The Noise of Time, has been given a nod – so have Americans Jonathan Franzen (Purity) and Hanya Yanagihara (A little Life). Both books are bestsellers in Russia and their fate will be decided by the award’s jury, made up of Russian literary critics and writers.
The Foreign Literature branch was launched in 2015 by the prize organizers – The Yasnaya Polyana State Museum-Estate and Samsung Electronics company. The winning author will take home 1.2 million rubles ($20,000) and their Russian translator will pocket 500,000 rubles ($8,500).
L-R, jury members: Pavel Basinsky, Vladislav Otroshenko, Vladimir Tolstoy, Alexei Varlamov. Source: Press photo
The winner will be announced in the autumn. In 2015 the prize went to American Ruth Ozeki and to Turk Orhan Pamuk the following year. South African author John Maxwell Coetzee and his The Childhood of Jesus is nominated for a second year running this time around.
“Reading these books allows one to understand what’s happening on the global literary scene at the moment,” said Pavel Basinsky, jury member, writer, and expert in Leo Tolstoy. “The Yasanaya Polyana prize helps people navigate the world of modern literature, even me.”
The long list:
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