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Alexander Solzhenitsyn Prize Goes to Oleg Pavlov
 Feb 27, 2012

The Alexander Solzhenitsyn Prize has been awarded to prose writer Oleg Pavlov. The announcement of this year’s winner was made by Natalya Solzhenitsyna, the widow of the author and president of the Alexander Solzhenitsyn Foundation. Pavlov has received the award for his “confessional prose full of poetic force and compassion; for his artistic and philosophical exploration of the meaning of human existence in extreme circumstances.”

Oleg Pavlov was born in Moscow and he served in the Interior Ministry troops near the city of Karaganda. The events that Pavlov portrays in his stories and novels were inspired by his own experiences as a prison camp guard. During his service, Pavlov suffered a head injury, was hospitalized, and spent over a month in a psychiatric ward. This allowed him to be released from the army before the end of the mandatory two-year military service. He went on to study at the Institute of Literature in Moscow.

He was only 24 years old when his first novel, Kazennaya skazka, was published in the Novy Mir Russian monthly magazine. He was noticed by the critics and the Russian Booker Prize jury, which short-listed the novel for the 1995 prize. His next novel was Matyushin's Case (1997). Pavlov received the Russian Booker Prize in 2002 for his book "Ninth Day Party in Karaganda or the Story of the Recent Days" (Karagandinskiye deviatiny).

Pavlov is also the author of articles on literature, historical and social aspects of life in Russia, as well as numerous essays. In his 2003 book "The Russian Man in the 20th Century" he writes about Russian life, not only based on his personal experience, but also on numerous letters received by the Alexander Solzhenitsyn Foundation in the early 1990s and given to him by the famous Russian writer and dissident and his wife, Natalya.

Pavlov’s works have been translated into English, French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Norwegian, Czech, Slovak and Serbian.

The prize was created by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in 1998 on royalties received from the publication of Gulag Archipelago in various countries. Past winners include academic Vladimir Toporov, poet Inna Lisnyanskaya, writers Valentin Rasputin, Konstantin Vorobiev, Evgeny Nosov, Viktor Astafiev, Leonid Borodin, actor Evgeny Mironov and many others.

This year’s award will be officially present on April 26 in Moscow at the Alexander Solzhenitsyn Russia Abroad House.

Russkiy Mir Foundation Information Service


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"And we will preserve you, Russian speech,
The great Russian word.
We will keep you free and pure,
And pass you on to our grandchildren,
Free from bondage forever!" Anna Akhmatova "Valor"

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