Nominee from Belarus misses out on Nobel Literature Prize

Before announcing the results Sviatlana Aleksiyevich was considered to be one of three favourites.

The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2013 has been s awarded to Canadian Alice Munro, “master of the contemporary short story”, the Nobel Prize official website reports.

“The decision is just. This is a fair play and a fair choice. No offence is meant. Unfortunately, I have not read any books by this Canadian writer. My congratulations to her, I am very glad about her [win],” Ms Aleksiyevich told Radio Liberty.

The 65-year Belarusian author has recently produced her work Time Second Hand, which is critically acclaimed. The book is available in Russian, German and Swedish. The extracts in the Belarusian language have been published by Dzeyaslou, a Belarusian magazine. Sviatlana Aleksiyevich is also known as an author of non-fiction prose (War’s Unwomanly Face, Zinky Boys, Chernobyl’s Prayer).

What would her prize bring to Belarus should Russian-speaking Ms Aleksiyevich be named winner? According to Aleh Trusau, Head of Frantsishak Skaryna Belarusian Language Society, she would join the cohort of Nobel Prize winners from Belarus who do not speak Belarusian…

Mr Trusau never held Sviatlana Aleksiyevich to be a writer; that is why he is not severe on her not speaking Belarusian. “She is a talented journalist; journalism is more neutral because it fails to reflect either people’s soul or word picture,” he said.

In his opinion, that is the reason for her being missed out: “No one will award a Nobel Literature Prize to a journalist. It is the Pulitzer Prize that she could easily get”.

Belarusian writers Vasil Bykau, Ryhor Baradulin and Uladzimir Niakliayeu were nominees for the world’s main literature prize several times. According to Mr Trusau, Belarusians stand little chance of being awarded because they do not have any lobby. Their works should be translated into as many foreign languages as possible, the expert says.

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