The Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award Announces the Start of its 21st Season
The co-founders of the Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award – the Leo Tolstoy Estate-Museum and Samsung Electronics – have commenced their 21st season by announcing that they are accepting applications for 2023.
The Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award celebrates outstanding works of literature in two main categories: “Modern Russian Prose” and “Foreign Literature”. The prize fund of the Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award is 6.7 million rubles. This is the largest literary award in Russia.
“Last year, the Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award celebrated its 20th anniversary. At the award ceremony, which took place on the New Stage of the Bolshoi Theatre, we looked back over the most striking events of the past years, our wonderful laureates, of whom we are very proud, the members of the jury and our constant partner – Samsung Electronics. We reaped the rewards of all of our hard work, and without pausing for rest, we now herald the next stage in the life of one of the most prestigious literary awards in Russia. The two main categories of the award remain unchanged: “Modern Russian Prose” and “Foreign Literature”, in the latter of which both author and translator are awarded. But the new season will also see some innovations. We have decided to award not just an important literary “Event”, as in previous years, but a literary “Personality of the Year” – someone whose contribution to literary life in Russia deserves attention and gratitude. And last, but not least, we will bring in a new award category, which will honour works written some time ago, but which, for whatever reason, did not receive the attention they deserved or were passed over by critics altogether. This category will be called “Missed Masterpieces”. After all, the main task of our award is to discover wonderful literary texts, regardless of when they were written,” commented Vladimir Tolstoy, Chairman of the Jury and Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation on Culture.
“Modern Russian Prose” is the main award category. Laureates in this nomination in recent years have been Dmitri Danilov, German Sadulaev, Evgeny Chizhov, Sergey Samsonov, Olga Slavnikova, Andrey Rubanov, Narine Abgaryan, Alexander Grigorenko, Guzel Yakhina, Evgeny Vodolazkin.
Any work of fiction published after 2021 can be nominated. Applications will be accepted from February 7th until March 20th, 2023. Nominations can come either from publishing houses, "thick" literary magazines, writers' unions or previous winners of the award.
The “Foreign Literature” category recognizes foreign works published in the 21st century and their translations into Russian. The long list in this category is formed by experts: literary critics, translators and publishers. A short list in this category was first announced in 2022. The short list of the "Foreign Literature" category includes books selected by the jury from the long list proposed by the experts.
Previous winners in this category include: Ruth Ozeki (2015), Orhan Pamuk (2016), Mario Vargas Llosa (2017), Amos Oz (2018), Hernan Rivera Letelier (2019), Patricia Dunker (2020), Julian Barnes (2021), Yu Hua (2022) and the translators of their books into Russian: Ekaterina Ilyina, Apollinaria Avrutina, Kirill Korkonosenko, Viktor Radutsky, Daria Sinitsyna, Alexandra Borisenko and Viktor Sonkin, Dmitry Simanovsky and Sergei Polotovsky, Yulia Dreyzis. The long list of the Foreign Literature category will be announced in March 2023.
This year the “Event” category will be renamed and becomes the “Personality of the Year” category. The winner of this nomination will be someone who has made a special contribution to the development of Russian literature - a writer, poet, literary critic, literary academic, theater or film director, who has adapted a literary work for the stage or screen, or any public or cultural figure who has had a significant impact on the literary life of Russia.
The award will also introduce a new category – “Missed Masterpieces”. This category will celebrate a work of world literature translated in the 21st century, but unnoticed by Russian critics and translators at the time of its publication and which has been discovered by readers only after the death of the author. The long list of this category will also be formed by experts.
The distribution of the prize money among the winners of the different categories will be as follows in 2023:
• Laureate in the “Modern Russian Prose” category will receive 3 million rubles. Shortlisted authors in this category share 1 million rubles between them;
• The “Foreign Literature” category consists of two parts: 1,200,000 rubles is awarded to a laureate-foreign writer; 500,000 rubles to the translator of the book into Russian;
• The “Missed Masterpieces” category awards the translator of the text into Russian, they will receive 250 thousand rubles. The publishing house, which published the work will receive a special diploma.
• The winner of the “Personality of the Year” award will receive 250 thousand rubles.
The Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award also includes a special Samsung Readers' Choice Award. The winner of this prize will be the author who receives the most votes based on the results of reader internet voting and will be the rewarded with a trip to South Korea.
“The Yasnaya Polyana Award is one of the key cultural and social projects of Samsung Electronics in Russia. For ove 20 years, since 2003, this prestigious award has been given to writers whose works inherit the traditions of classical literature. Yasnaya Polyana brings together key experts and acts as a navigator of contemporary literature, compiling lists of the best Russian and translated books, and we are proud to be its co-founders. In this way, we contribute to the development of Russian culture and support the creativity of both recognized writers and young authors, translators and critics,” said Sergey Pevnev, Vice President of Samsung Electronics CIS HQ.