The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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The 17th Season of the Yasnaya Polyana Book Award Opened


On January 22, 2019 the Yasnaya Polyana Book Award announced that applications for the Award‘s 17th season are now being accepted. The Award, co-founded by the Yasnaya Polyana Museum and Samsung Electronics company, recognizes outstanding literary works in two main categories: Modern Russian Fiction, and Foreign Fiction, and also recognizes significant events in Russian literary life. The prize fund of the Award in 2019 is 6.7 million rubles. It is the biggest literary award in Russia.

The Yasnaya Polyana Modern Russian Fiction Award is the award’s main category. It recognizes an outstanding work by a modern Russian author which is important to read at this time as it reveals the course of present-day literary trends. Winners in this category in recent years include Olga Slavnikova, Andrei Rubanov, Narine Abgaryan, Alexander Grigorenko, and Guzel Yakhina. Works can be nominated by publishing companies, “thick” literary magazines, previous years’ award winners, and writers’ unions. Works published after 2015 can be nominated this year. Applications are accepted from January 24 to March 31.

“Every year, when the Award opens its new season and starts accepting applications for the nomination for the Modern Russian Fiction Award, we do not limit the nominators to books published only in the current year and the previous year. Books published within approximately the last five years are included in the long list. It is an attempt to give a second chance to texts that did not get the critics‘ and readers‘ attention in the year of their publication. And it is one of the specific features of the Yasnaya Polyana Award, and we have followed it since the year of the Award‘s foundation, in 2003,“ says Vladimir Tolstoy, Chairman of the Award‘s jury.

The Yasnaya Polyana Foreign Fiction Award recognizes significant foreign books written in the 21st century and their translation into Russian. The long list in this category is drawn up by experts--literary critics, translators, and publishers. In 2019, the jury will choose the winner in this category for the fifth time; previously, the Foreign Fiction award has been given to Ruth Ozeki (2015), Orhan Pamuk (2016), Mario Vargas Llosa (2017), and Amos Oz (2018). The long list will be announced on March 1.

The Event category was established in 2017. It is intended to focus attention on a significant event in literary life, in the opinion of the jury and experts, such as a festival, theater production, documentary literature, or media material. The first award in this catgory was given to the LiteraTula children‘s books festival and its curator Irina Racheva. In 2018, the winner in this category is the film The History of One Appointment (directed by Avdotya Smirnova). The winner is selected by the jury; anyone can recommend an event for this category by e-mail ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

There is also a Samsung special prize – Readers‘ Choice. The winner of the prize (a professional trip to South Korea) is the author of the book which gets the greatest number of votes during the open online readers‘ vote.

„For the last 16 years, the Yasnaya Polyana Book Award is a navigator in modern literature, drawing up lists of the best Russian and translated books. Being this project‘s co-founder is a matter of great pride for Samsung Electronics. As a socially responsible company, we try to support such influential and large-scale cultural projects in Russia and abroad, thus encouraging the development of new classical traditions,” comments Sergey Pevnev, Director of Corporate Projects at Samsung Electronics CIS headquarters.

In 2018, the novels by winners of the Yasnaya Polyana Book Award, Laurus, by Evgeny Vodolazkin, and Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes, by Guzel Yakhina, were also the first works of modern Russian literature added to the Living Pages application, an interactive encyclopedia that lets users explore literary works in a new format. The Living Pages project was launched in 2015 by Samsung jointly with experts of Tolstoy Digital, and supported by the School of Linguistics of the Higher School of Economics National Research University and the ABBYY Company.

More information is available on the web site of the Award:

The Jury of the Award:

Lev Anninsky, literary critic;

Pavel Basinsky, writer and literary critic;

Alexei Varlamov, prose writer and scholar of Russian literature of the 20th century; rector of the Literary Institute;

Evgeny Vodolazkin, writer, Doctor of Philology, and winner of the Yasnaya Polyana Book Award;

Valentin Kurbatov, writer and literary critic;

Vladislav Otroshenko, writer, winner of the Yasnaya Polyana Book Award;

Vladimir Tolstoy, Chairman of the jury, RF President’s Advisor on Culture and Art.

About the Establishers of the Award:

Samsung Electronics is one of the largest producers of TV sets, smart phones, mobile devices, tablets, cameras, household appliances, medical devices, network operating systems, semiconductors, and LED products. The company’s offices are located in 79 countries around the world. The company also actively supports cultural, social and educational initiatives in Russia; it is a sponsor of the State Academic Bolshoi Theater, and a partner of the State Hermitage and of the State Petergof Museum-Preserve.

The Yasnaya Polyana Estate-Museum is a literary museum opened in 1921 at Leo Tolstoy‘s (1828-1910) ancestral estate. It was here that Tolstoy was born, lived most of his life, and was buried on the edge of a ravine in the shade of trees. Now Yasnaya Polyana is a major museum and a recognized cultural center of international importance. A great many people from all over the world come here annually; conferences, festivals, and professional seminars are held.

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