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Russian Booker Prize Goes to Elena Kolyadina

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Russian Booker Prize Goes to Elena Kolyadina


03.12.2010

The winner of the literary prize known as the Russian Booker for the best novel in Russian was announced on December 2. The prize went to Elean Kolyadina, a writer from Cherepovets, Voice of Russia reports.

The jury handed Kolyadina the award for her novel Flower Cross. Now its author is in the same company as Bulat Okudzhava, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Vasily Aksenov, Mikhail Yelizarov and others who have received this award during the 19 years of its existence.

The narrative will take the reader back to the XVII century in a town called Totma. A young priest arrives in the town to convince people to believe in all sorts of superstitions, sprites, hobgoblins and other prejudices.

“In 1995 I became a writer for Cosmopolitan and took a fancy to feminism, collecting various literature on the subject. Once I purchased a book on witches that included historical information about a condemned witch named Feodosia in Totma. This information provided the impulse for writing of this novel,” the author explained.

Flower Cross was initially published in the journal Vologda Literature and immediately provoked a reaction among readers, with some calling it ingenious while other condemned it as “fluff”. Flower Cross will be published separately in December.

The Russian Booker Prize is a literary award modeled after the Booker Prize and was inaugurated in 1992, becoming the first nongovernmental literary prize in Russia since 1917. Now established as the country's premier literary prize, it is awarded to the best work of fiction written in the Russian language each year as decided by a panel of judges, irrespective of the writer's citizenship.

The structure of the Booker-Open Russia is similar to the Commonwealth Booker Prize. Each year, the jury of the contest chooses from among all the participants (the so-called "long list") six best novels, which forms a short list. The eventual winner receives a cash prize of US$15,000, while each of the shortlisted finalists earns US$1,000.

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