The Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award
for the Best Foreign Novel of the 21st
Century has been awarded to Viking/Penguin author Ruth Ozeki for A Tale for the Time Being
The award ceremony for the 13th
annual Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award, which was founded by the Leo Tolstoy Museum & Estate and Samsung Electronics, took place on Saturday (10/31) at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia. For the first time, the award included a category for Foreign Literature, making Yasnaya Polyana Russia’s first international literary award, and Ozeki the first international recipient.
Ozeki and the novel’s Russian translator, Yekaterina Ilyina, will be awarded 1,000,000 and 200,000 rubles, respectively. A Tale for the Time Being, published in hardcover by Viking and in paperback by Penguin Books in the US, is published in Russia by AST.
During the award ceremony, Vladimir Tolstoy
, great-great-grandson of author Leo Tolstoy and chairman of the Yasnaya Polyana prize committee, introduced Ozeki and compared A Tale for the Time Being to the novels by his great-great-grandfather: “
A Tale for the Time Being fascinated me with its humanity, very calm confidential tone and profound significance. The book is a dialogue between two continents, between two different civilizations, and everything in this book naturally merges into one story filled with compassion, personal involvement in others’ lives/destinies, the very humane attitude which connects Ruth Ozeki to Leo Tolstoy. Unconditional humanism is characteristic both of A Tale for the Time Being and of Leo Tolstoy’s works.”
In her acceptance speech, Ozeki said, “To receive this award, given by the Tolstoy estate, is an unimaginable honor, and I am deeply grateful. We writers like to take credit for connecting people with our stories, but actually human beings are already deeply and fundamentally connected, and our stories are simply an expression of this. Literature affirms our connection with each other. Literature works because people enjoy this sense of basic human interconnectedness and find it inspiring.”