The Russian Booker Prize is given every year to a contemporary Russian writer. The judges of the prize, headed by Olga Poloschin, are careful to ensure that the selection of the Russian best sellers will not be skewed towards commercial success, but will include books that have some real merit as literature. This year was the twenty-fifth year that the Russian Academy of Sciences has awarded the prestigious literary award. The previous recipients have included Vasili Oschepkov, Vasili Astakhov, Levitating, and Anna Ponomareva.
Some of the more famous Russian bestsellers of recent times have been loosely translated into English, with the blessing of their publishers, sometimes by the translators themselves. Some of these have become bestsellers on their own, but are not bestsellers in the strictest sense of the word. As well as having some great literary merit, these books also tend to deal with some very timely social issues, especially if they deal with Russia as a country. In this respect, they are perhaps closer to being true literary works than works that have appeared before.
Vasili Oschepkov is perhaps best known for his controversial novel The Skin Of Gods. It was banned in the United States under the Privacy Act for almost ten years but was finally relaunched with an enhanced version that was received well by American libraries. It was then turned into a film starring Djimon Hanso as the main character. The novel was made into a movie with a successful sequel, The Skin Of Gods And Other Stories. The United States publishing industry was not the only country to ban The Skin Of Gods, but it was one of the most successful of a long series of Russian novels that was banned.
Levitating was written by Vasili Arkhangay and was originally written as a short story, but it was eventually made into a full-blown epic. The book won the U.S. commercial book award for the longest time, and this was not surprising given the subject matter. It has been called the year’s long, greatest piece of literature, and was long awaited by many.
The book about the writer’s life that inspired Pushkin’s Anna Kiselevitzky is Levitating. It is almost as amazing as Pushkin himself, who wrote the book as a response to Svetlova’s Anna Kiselevitzky, which was a much loved pre-war work of art. The book talks about how Pushkin was influenced by Svetlova’s work, as well as what sort of a person Kiselevitzky was. She was a famous artist, who had worked with famous artists, including Giorgio de la Renta. It was also rumoured that Pushkin greatly admired Kiselevitzky’s paintings and even wrote a number of her paintings.
Another winner of the Russian Book Award is The Happy Giant. This was written by Peter Weiss, who is best known for his novels about concentration and the arts. The title refers to the fact that Weiss concentrates on the human form, as opposed to other work that he has written in the past, such as the Woman With Six Flags or The Bannered Figure. The book has won several awards over the years and remains a favourite amongst lovers of fine art and architecture. Peter Weiss is also the co-curator of the ongoing Russian Film Festival, which he first established in 1999.
The last of the Russian Booker Prize Winners to win the award was The Diary Of A Russian. The book was written by Ekimov, who was also a Nobel Prize winner. The story in The Diary Of A Russian is all the more remarkable because it comes from the pen of an individual who was serving time in prison. The writer managed to continue writing throughout his sentence, and this is how The Diary Of A Russian became a long-time winner of the prize.
Of course, these are just the small victories for the literary world at the Russian Book Awards. The Grand Prize, which is presented to works that have been long time favourites at the Prize Ceremony, can be difficult to get, as it has only been given out every few years. In recent years it has been the long time favourite, with the former winners including Vasya Kosareva and Andre Norton. The decision of the jury is not as subjective as it used to be, so it is no surprise that this category continues to stay on the prize list for such a long time.