Monday, November 06, 2006

Literary Journalism Award

Recently I noticed that this years Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage has been given to Linda Grant from London for her book The People on the Street. As the organizers say the aim of the award is to bring the outstanding achievements of literary reportage and the themes of the nominated books to the focus of international attention and to support its authors both morally, materially and symbolically.
Why I am writing about this? Because there are not many awards given for literary journalism. LJ is still not a mainstream thing, and an authors specific style or voice or attention to details does not count much in many newspapers.
Secondly, because this award is given to journalists from all around the world which means that LJ is global, not limited only to the USA.
And thirdly, because in 2003, when the award was created, among the jurors was also Svetlana Alexiyevich who wrote the book Boys in Zinc. This is enough of a guarantee for me that the award is prestigious. I cannot forget her book. In it there is a passage about a woman who was measuring the size of a zinc coffin in which there the remains of her son. The coffin arrived with a plane from Afghanistan, her son had fought in Soviet-Afghan war. How did she do it? She lay on top of it and measured it with her body. Her son was big and she wanted to be sure that the coffin was big enough for him.
One sentence that revealed all the absurdity of any war.


Anonymous said...

Dear Sonja, I noticed you like comments so here is mine: I am reading you! Greetings from the... competition. Borut Mekina

Sonja said...

@borut: ojla, Borut, thanks, I am reading you, too, :).