Re: European Union Prize for Literature 2009
Heh. So first it was wrong because it was discriminating; now it's wrong because it's too bureaucratic - because everyone knows it must be bureaucratic, right?
The jury was national. Its members are literary critics and scientists. They already have jobs and salaries connected to literature. Maybe there were few business trips at the beginning, when it was all agreed and the members of juries were appointed. But there was definitely no need for the members of jury for any travels, accomodations or dinners at restaurants due to judging the books. For 99,9% they already knew the book. After all, one of criteria was that it was published 5 years before the prize. The book that won was published in 2008. It is nominated for our national literature competition, it's one of ten finalists.
Also, could you please name just those "too many literature competitions" in Europe that give the same chance to authors of all countries? Where there are no prejudices regarding who should win, and no accusations of bureaucracy or politics? Well, I don't care about politics, or bureaucracy. I don't even care if the members of the jury had a chance to get a dinner in a fancy restaurant. I even don't envy them trip to FBF. The professional writers are very rare and endangered kind in my country; and there are few professions more neglected and despised than literary scientists. So if they finally had a chance to enjoy a bit of glory, I hope they enjoy it! I'm definitely NOT going to ignore the good books because of that.
Thoughtful promotion of what people actually write, so that readers can get hold of it, would really be great, but unfortunatelly, it's not realistic. My country will never have enough money to promote books of our writers in all countries of EU. Especially as literature is the last on the list of things that need attention and money. And I doubt that the member countries themselves will be so much interested they would promote our books. So politics it might be, but thanks to grants on literary translation, there are few more books translated from Slovaks and few more books translated to it, as well. And this is another chance. So it's not perfect. And? Nothing is. Still it shouldn't be wasted. And it doesn't deserve to be blackmouthed before it even started properly.
"Of literature I must begin to say what I have said of everything else: 'Curses on Copernicus!'" Late Mattia Pascal