22 November 2012, 15:24

Russian literature without borders

Russian literature without borders

The presentation of the Russkaya Premiya Award - a literary contest that supports Russian-speaking writers and poets living abroad – will take place at the International Book Fair in the Austrian capital Vienna on November 23rd . The presentation of the book of the laureate of the Russkaya Premiya Award 2011 Darya Vilke will also take place there.

The new novel of the 36-year-old writer living in Austria is titled “Mezhsezoniye”. Commenting on the book in an interview with the Voice of Russia, the head of the Vienna contest Tatyana Voskovskaya said:

"What we have here is the situation when one leaves his (her) historical land but is not closely linked with his (her) new homeland yet. That is why I think that the word chosen for the title is very good because in this case it means that the given person still feels off-season and unsettled. It is a very serious and interesting work."

Darya Vilke has been living in emigration since 2000. She lives in Vienna and teaches Russian at the Slavic Studies Faculty at the Vienna University. The plot of her novel is the following: a Moscow family that has a fear of instability of the life in Russia of 1990 moves to Vienna where it is doing its utmost in order to adapt to the life in Austria – with variable success. The emigrants face the indifference of the Vienna officials, and their relations with Vienna, which is undoubtedly a very beautiful city are sufficiently difficult. The main character of Vilke’s novel feels alone there.

The psychological depth reached by the author and the beauty of Vilke’s literary style caused admiration among the members of the jury of the Russkaya Premiya Award contest, aimed at the preservation and development of the Russian language. Thus, the award went to Darya Vilke from Austria. Meanwhile, in 2005, when the idea to institute such a prize came into being, it was planned that support would be offered only to the Russian-language writers from the CIS countries. The founder of this contest Sergei Chuprinin says:

"At its initial stage this was a grant rather than a prize given to people who despite the fact that they find themselves in difficult conditions remain committed to the Russian language and are working hard to promote Russian literature abroad . To write in Russian in Ashgabat or in Dushanbe is very difficult now."

Difficult because the Russian language is being ousted from the use as well as from the school programmes. And this is a great loss, first of all, for the national culture, a member of the jury, writer German Sadulayev.

"With the loss of the Russian language, no boom in the national literature is visible today. The Russian literature as a locomotive pulled national language literatures, giving them a boost."

Over the past seven years of its existence the Russkaya Premiya Award has broadened its field considerably, and today it has practically no borders. As you know, people speaking Russian and writing in Russian live in all continents. There are representatives of 18 countries among the laureates. Readers willingly buy their books, Tatyana Voskovskaya stresses.

"For example, Vladimir Lorchenkov from Moldova I s actively published now by the major Russian publishing houses. His novel “Vse tam budem” that won the Russkaya Premiya Award 2008 has been translated into Italian this year."

The list of candidates for the Russkaya Premiya Award 2012 is under formation now.

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