The nominees for the Yasnaya Polyana Award’s Foreign Literature category announced

The winner will receive 1 million rubles ($19,400). Source: Press photo

The winner will receive 1 million rubles ($19,400). Source: Press photo

The Leo Tolstoy Museum-Estate and the co-founders of the Yasnaya Polyana Award, Samsung Electronics, have announced the long list for the Foreign Literature category.

This is the first year that the new category for the Foreign Literature has been included, making Yasnaya Polyana Russia’s first international literary award. A panel of experts, including translators, foreign publishers and literary critics will choose the most noteworthy foreign book of the 21st century, along with the book’s Russian translation. The prize fund for the Foreign Literature category is broken up into two parts: the winner (a foreign writer) will receive 1 million rubles ($19,400), while the translator will receive 200,000 rubles ($3,880).

The long list for the Foreign Literature category includes 33 works by authors from the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Spain, Italy, France and others.

“Leo Tolstoy’s literary masterpieces are the gold standard in world literary culture. They serve as the moral reference point in Russia and many other countries across the world,” said Sergey Pevnev, director of Samsung Electronics’ Corporate Relations Department. “We are delighted to support foreign authors who honor classic Russian literary traditions in their work and contribute to promoting Tolstoy’s literary traditions in Russia and abroad.”

The annual Yasnaya Polyana literature competition was established in 2003 by the Tolstoy Estate and Museum at Yasnaya Polyana and Samsung Electronics. It recognizes works that preserve the traditions of classic literature and also represent relevant trends in modern Russian writing.

The Foreign Literature category is the award’s fourth. Between 2003 and 2011 there were just two categories: Contemporary Classic, which recognizes established modern authors, and 21st Century, which is awarded to books written after the year 2000. A third category – Childhood, Boyhood, Youth – was added in 2012. The name evokes Leo Tolstoy’s famous autobiographical trilogy and the prize is for children’s literature.

Vladimir Tolstoy, the chairman of the Yasnaya Polyana prize committee expressed his delight at the fact that the award’s scope has been widened this year, and particularly that the new category is for foreign literature.

“On the one hand this is my personal nostalgia for the days when we were absorbed by world literature,” said Tolstoy. “We did not have a fully fledged beacon of world literature in those days, and I hope that the nominees for the Foreign Literature category can become such a beacon. The first winner of the prize is extremely important, as he or she will establish a trend.”

The winner will be announced in October 2015.


The nominees from the U.S. are as follows:

– Helen DeWitt, “The Last Samurai”, translated by Anastasia Gryzunova

– Dave Eggers, "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”, translated by Evgeny Kuleshov

– Junot Díaz, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”, translated by Elena Poletskaya

– Toni Morrison, “Home”, translated by Víctor Golyshev

– Thomas Pynchon, “Bleeding Edge”, translated by Maxim Nemtsov

– Donna Tartt, “The Goldfinch”, translated by Anastasia Zavozova

– Jonathan Safran Foer, “Everything is Illuminated”, translated by Vassily Arkanov

– Ruth Ozeki, “A Tale For the Time Being”, translated by Ekaterina Ilyina

– Jeffrey Eugenides, “Middlesex”, translated by Maria Lanina

– Jonathan Franzen, “The Corrections”, translated by Lyubov Summ


The nominees from the UK are as follows:

– Amélie Nothomb, “Stupeur et Tremblements”, translated by Natalia and Igor Popov

– Rachel Joyce, “Perfect”, translated by Irina Togoeva

– Julian Barnes, “The Sense of an Ending”, translated by Sergey Ilyin

– Jonathan Coe, “The Closed Circle”, translated by Elena Poletskaya

– Alan Bennett, “the Clothes They Stood Up In”, translated by Tamara Kazavichnskaya

– Kazuo Ishiguro, “Never Let Me Go”, translated by Leonid Motylev

See the full list of nominees here


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