The jury of T-portal Literary Award, chaired by a literary critic and a publicist Katarina Luketić, comprised of the translator Ursula Burger, the theatre director Ivica Buljan, and editors and writers Miroslav Mićanović and Jadranka Pintarić, decided to confer this year’s award firstname.lastname@example.org to Slobodan Šnajder for his novel “The Brass Times”, as was announced during the award presentation ceremony on Monday evening at the Zagreb-based Velvet Cafe.
56 novels were submitted to this year’s t-portal competition email@example.com, and hence the selection of the best novel was a highly challenging task. Fortunately, the jury did not have to select the inferior text. The finalists were the novels “The Brass Times” by Slobodan Šnajder, “Alone by the Sea” by Zoran Ferić, “No Signal Area” by Robert Perišić, “Skin-coloured Cloud” by Nebojša Lujanović, and “Your Son Huckleberry Finn” by Bekim Sejranović. The winner Slobodan Šnajder received the award worth HRK 50,000 and the sculpture of the computer keyboard, while the remaining four finalists received Lenovo Tablet Yoga Tab 3.
“This award is intended to provide support both to writers and literature. Our greatest challenge was to make sure that all the finalists appear here today and due to the efforts exerted by t-portal Culture Editor Mija Pavliša we have succeeded in this. Writers are always a challenge – some of them live in several countries, from Norway to Bosnia, some live on the island, and some of them perhaps did not have the intention to attend the ceremony, which is typical of artists. Nevertheless, tonight we have brought them all together and I am delighted with this fact. I believe that all those present here today will find themselves in one of the 56 novels submitted, in a sentence or a paragraph which will make them reflect both about themselves and the world surrounding us. This is primarily the task of both reading and literature – to understand the world around us and become better people. That’s why my message today is – people, do read!”, as stated by t-portal Editor-in-Chief Danijela Jozić.
“Hrvatski Telekom and culture have been publicly involved for a large number of years. I can express my utmost satisfaction with the development of t-portal literary award and with the turnout today, as well as with the number of applicants for the competition. During the last 9 years, 450 both male and female authors have applied for our literary award competition. The jury faced a highly challenging task of reading and evaluating all the novels. Congratulations to all those who applied and especially to the one who will be declared the winner,” stated Davor Tomašković, President of the Management Board of Hrvatski Telekom.
The jury comprising of the literary critic and publicist Katarina Luketić, who also presided over the jury, as well as the translator Ursula Burger, the theatre director Ivica Buljan, and writers and critics Jadranka Pintarić and Miroslav Mićanović, made the decision on this year’s winner of the award firstname.lastname@example.org, assuming the task of selection amongst 56 novels published last year, almost a record number of submitted novels.
“This year, the jury has particularly enjoyed performing its task, as we were provided the opportunity to read, analyse, and discuss the excellent novels submitted,” noted Katarina Luketić during the winner announcement ceremony of the 9th edition of t-portal competition that was held at the Zagreb-based Velvet Cafe. “Nevertheless, we also had a highly challenging task to select the best amongst the selected finalists because all of them actually deserved to receive this award,” she pointed out.
When reaching the final decision, the jury relied primarily on the criteria of authenticity and coherence, and they hence opted for Šnajder’s “impressively written novel from the linguistic point of view, almost a novel-fresco, that addresses the issue of oblivion and remembrance, the relationship between a small-scale, intimate and a large-scale, official history in which the author managed to illustrate the completeness of time and space,” stated Luketić.
She congratulated all the finalists, expressing the opinion that for all the finalists the novels submitted for this competition “can be rated as the best they have ever written in this genre.”
The winner Slobodan Šnajder expressed his gratitude for the award, as well as to t-portal for conferring this award, pointing out that he is extremely delighted with the fact that his novel is this year’s laureate.
“Goethe said that upon certain conditions nothing is harder to bear than a succession of fair days. Yet, I’ve been living through the past several good days extremely well,” stated Šnajder.
The awarded novel “The Brass Times”, published by TIM press, was announced as a story about love and war whose setting is in Germany in the 18th century, during the time of the great famine and migrations, and it ends in Yugoslavia in 1945 with the persecution of the Germans and ethnic cleansing.
The jury of t-portal literary award stated in its explanatory statement that the awarded novel “is a work that will certainly have a significant long-term impact both on the Croatian and the regional literature, and it will hopefully eventually be included in the list of great European novels” and concluded that the novel “shows the complexity of local history and the diversity of our identities, as well as the noxiousness of the policies of national exclusivity that have been striving to erase both such complexity and diversity. Finally, the novel points out the power of fiction to strike back, that is the power of literary language which – as opposed to the language of historiography and politics – succeeds in presenting all the completeness of a certain period of time and space and pointing out the importance of personal choice for the individual”.