Book awards. Most Prestigious Prizes in Literature

Book awards. Most Prestigious Prizes in Literature
Book awards. Most Prestigious Prizes in Literature

Prestigious book awards are presented annually in various countries around the world. Focusing on them, many determine what they will read in the near future, what talented writers appear in the world, who should be guided by. For poets and prose writers, this is one of the most effective ways to express themselves publicly, to become truly famous and popular.

Most prestigious award

Nobel Prize in Literature

Of course, the debate about which book award remains the most prestigious continues to this day and will probably never subside. Perhaps no one will argue with the fact that at least the most famous award in this field is the Nobel Prize in Literature.

This is one of the five awards that were organized by the will of the creator of dynamite, the famous Swedish engineer and chemist Alfred Nobel in 1895. Officially, this book prize has been awarded since 1901, along with other prizes in physics,chemistry, medicine and physiology, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize.

The very first award went to the French writer Armand Prudhomme, famous as a poet and essayist.

Russian laureates

Ivan Bunin

In the history of this book award, 29 times it has been awarded to laureates who write in English. French-speaking writers received it 14 times. 13 times the award was presented for works in German, 11 times - in Spanish, 7 times - in Swedish, 6 times - in Russian and Italian, 4 times - in Polish, three times - in Danish and Norwegian, twice - in Greek, Japanese and Chinese, and once each in Arabic, Bengali, Czech, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Occitan, Portuguese, Serbian, Turkish and Yiddish.

Interestingly, although six authors writing in Russian have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, only five of them are Russians. These are Ivan Bunin, Boris Pasternak, Mikhail Sholokhov, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky.

In 2015, the Belarusian writer Lyudmila Aleksievich, who writes her works in Russian, became the laureate of the award. The latest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature is Japanese-born English writer Kajio Ishiguro.


In recent years, the Nobel Committee, which determines the winners of the prize, has been repeatedly criticized. Academics are accused that most often the prize is awarded to writers from Europe and the USA, among Western European writers there are many Scandinavian authors, especiallySwedes, which may be due to the nationality of the Nobel himself.

Many recognized classics of the 20th century never received the award, although they were repeatedly nominated for it. For example, these are Federico Garcia Lorca, Thomas Wolfe, Paul Valery, Osip Mandelstam, Robert Frost, Marina Tsvetaeva and Anna Akhmatova. In addition, the prize is not awarded to the authors of the so-called "genre literature" (HG Wells and John Tolkien were left without an award), moreover, the prize is often accused of being politicized. For example, it is believed that Alexander Solzhenitsyn became its laureate only because of the confrontation between the USSR and the USA in the Cold War.

Pulitzer Prize

Pulitzer Prize

A large number of important awards in this area are presented in the United States. Take the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, for example. The list of books that are nominated for it every year become major hits.

It is believed that the award was established in 1903, when the newspaper magnate Jose Pulitzer made a will in which he left two million dollars to establish a fund to encourage the best writers.

It is interesting that initially the Pulitzer Prize was awarded only for stories, but in 1947 the situation changed. The first laureate in 1918 was Ernest Poole for "His Family". Unlike the Nobel Prize in Literature, this award is given for a specific book, and not for all creativity in the aggregate.

Notable writers who have received this award include Sinclair Lewis for "Arrowsmith" (he declined the award), Thornton Wilder forSaint Louis Bridge, John Steinbeck for The Grapes of Wrath, Ernest Hemingway for The Old Man and the Sea, William Faulkner for The Parable, Harper Lee for To Kill a Mockingbird, John Updike for The Rabbit Got Rich, Philip Roth for "American Pastoral". Here is a list of Pulitzer Prize Literature books that deserve special attention.

Andrew Sean Greer won the 2018 award for Less.

2014 novel

Roman Schegol

One of the most successful Pulitzer Prize-winning novels of the last few years is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

The writer named her work in honor of the painting of the same name by the Dutchman Karel Fabricius, written in 1654. It tells about 13-year-old Theo Decker, who wakes up after an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he receives a rare painting by Fabritius and a mysterious ring from a dying old man, which he asks to be taken out of the museum.

In Donna Tart's novel The Goldfinch, young Theo has to go around many houses and families in New York, trying to escape from persecution. The picture will become for him a kind of curse that will pull to the very bottom. At the same time, she will turn into a straw that can lead him to the light.

Danish storyteller

There is an award in the world named after the brilliant Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. The Andersen Prize is presented every two years to the best children's writers, as well as artists andillustrators.

It was established in 1965 by the Council for Children's Literature at UNESCO. For children's authors, it is even called the Small Nobel Prize, it is so prestigious.

Among those who received it, Astrid Lindgren (1958), Tove Jansson (1966), Katherine Paterson (1998). In 2018, the award went to Japanese writer Eiko Kadono, whose fame was brought by the novel "Kiki's Delivery Service", subsequently filmed by Hayao Miyazaki.

English literature

Booker Prize

One of the most prestigious awards in exclusively English literature is the Booker Prize for Literature. The list of works that are nominated for it always receives close attention from critics and readers.

The award has been presented since 1969. Interestingly, until 2013, only authors living in the UK or one of the countries that are part of the so-called Commonwe alth of Nations could get it. Since 2014, it has been awarded to the author who wrote a novel in English, regardless of where he lives. It is noteworthy that after that almost only Americans become the winners of the award.

The very first award went to Percy Howard Newby for his novel This Will Be Answered. Iris Murdoch, Salman Rushdie, Anthony Byatt, James Kelman, Arundati Roy, Ian McEwan, Yann Martel should be noted among the authors who have become laureates of the award and are well-known in our country.

In 2017, the prize was awarded to American prose writer George Saunders for his novel "Lincoln inbardo".

Domestic equivalent

Russian Booker

An analogue of the Booker Prize is in many countries. For example, since 1992, the Russian Booker Prize has been awarded. It is awarded to an author who has written a novel in Russian that was first published last year.

Interestingly, the award was established by the British Council in Russia. The award was sponsored by domestic and foreign companies that helped raise money for the award for the winning authors.

Over the years, some other awards have tried to compete with it (for example, the Runet Book Prize), but it has remained the most influential in Russian literature. In 2018, a sad event happened: the organizers announced that for the first time they could not find a sponsor, so it was decided to refuse to award the prize.

Russian Booker Winners

The very first winner of this award in 1992 was Mark Kharitonov for his novel "Lines of Fate, or Milashevich's Chest". In the 90s, the award also went to Vladimir Makanin for "A table covered with cloth and with a decanter in the middle", Bulat Okudzhava for "The Abolished Theatre", Georgy Vladimov for "The General and His Army", Andrei Sergeev for "Album for Stamps", Anatoly Azolsky for "The Cage", Alexandra Morozov for "Alien Letters", Mikhail Butov for "Freedom", in 2000 Mikhail Shishkin for "The Capture of Ishmael" became the winner of the award.

In the 2000s, the list of winners is as follows: Lyudmila Ulitskaya ("Kukotsky's Incident"), OlegPavlov ("Karaganda Deviatiny"), Ruben Gallego ("White on Black"), Vasily Aksenov ("Voltaireans and Voltaireans"), Denis Gutsko ("Without a Path-Trace"), Olga Slavnikova ("2017"), Alexander Ilichevsky ("Matisse"), Mikhail Elizarov ("The Librarian"), Elena Chizhova ("Time of Women"), Elena Kolyadina ("Flower Cross"), Alexander Chudakov ("Darkness Falls on the Old Steps"), Andrey Dmitriev ("Peasant and Teenager "), Andrey Volos ("Return to Panjrud"), Vladimir Sharov ("Return to Egypt"), Alexander Snegirev ("Faith"), Pyotr Aleshkovsky ("Fortress").

In 2017, Alexander Nikolaenko won with the novel "To Kill Bobrykin. The Story of a Murder".

In the fantasy world

In domestic literature, science fiction writers who had crowds of fans have always been held in high esteem. Therefore, such close attention has always been paid to the ABS Prize - the international literary award in the field of science fiction named after Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.

The award is presented in two categories - "Fiction" and "Criticism and Publicism". As Boris Strugatsky himself noted, the winner can be the author of any fantastic work, even one in which elements of the impossible and incredible are used as plot-forming techniques. Therefore, here the jury members have a wide choice - from classic science fiction to phantasmagoria and grotesques in the style of Mikhail Bulgakov or Franz Kafka.

First time awardin 1999 received Evgeny Lukin for the novel "Zone of Justice". In 2002, the award went to Marina and Sergey Dyachenko for "Valley of Conscience", the next year - to Mikhail Uspensky for "White Horseradish in a Hemp Field". Dmitry Bykov has won four times - for the novels Spelling, Evacuator, Railway and X.

Dmitry Bykov

Vyacheslav Rybakov won 2017 with his novel "On a Furry Back".

On the other side of the world

It is often difficult for Russian and European readers to get acquainted with the literature of distant countries. Prestigious awards help in this, which provide guidance, for example, the Southeast Asian Literary Prize.

It has been awarded since 1979 for the prose and poetry of writers from the ASEAN countries. We should immediately admit that among the laureates it will be difficult for our reader to meet familiar names.

Interestingly, every year the award is presented to several authors at once. The very first winner was a prose writer and poet from Malaysia, Abdul Samad Said. Among his famous works are the novels "No Honeymoon at Fatehpur Sikir", "Silent River", "Morning Rain", "The Little Brother Has Arrived".

In 2017 Rusli Marzuki Suria from Indonesia and Jidanun Leungpiansamut from Thailand received the award.

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