2016 Saba Literary Prize winners revealed

The Saba Literary Prize was founded in 2003 to reveal the best of local literature. Photo by Saba Digital Book House.
Agenda.ge, 19 Sep 2016 - 18:06, Tbilisi,Georgia

Winners of Georgia’s leading literary contest have been announced, honouring authors, translators and critics for their efforts in developing the country's literature.

The Saba Literary Prize was founded in 2003 and is a major literary contest that revealing best creations and authors of prose, poetry, documentary writing and more.

Winners of this year's Saba Literary Prize were revealed on Sunday; 10 laureates were awarded prizes for their work over the past year.

Among the winners was American author and playwright Lyn Coffin, whose translation of the 12th Century Georgian epic The Knight in the Panther's Skin was singled out as the Best Foreign Translation of Georgian Work.

Poet and playwright Lyn Coffin was awarded for her translation of the 12th Century poem 'The Knight in the Panther's Skin'. Photo by N.Alavidze/Agenda.ge.

Published by Poezia Press in Tbilisi, Coffin said her work was the first "rhythmic, metaphoric, poetic translation" into English of the major medieval poem by Shota Rustaveli.

She noted she had received help of Georgian scholars for her translation project and had "translated as a poet" in contrast to earlier efforts by other translators that just translated words or meaning.

The American poet is the author of more than 20 books in fiction, drama and poetry. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories anthology.

In a novel approach to this year's awards, readers determined winners of the Literary Debut of the Year prize by voting on social media.

The public's favourite prize went to Salome Makaridze for her poetry debut Us. Film director Nana Ekvtimishvili (The Pear-Tree Meadow) and novelist Iunona Guruli (Diagnosis) were also awarded. The full list of winners of the Saba Literary Prize 2016 are:

  • Novel of the Year: Escapees from Heaven by Beka Kurkhuli, Expected Unexpectedness by Zurab Samadashvili;
  • Debut of the Year: Us by Salome Makaridze, The Pear-Tree Meadow by Nana Ekvtimishvili, Diagnosis by Iunona Guruli;
  • Essay and Documentary Prose of the Year: Irakli Parjiani and the Metaphysics of a Meeting by Zaza Piralishvili;
  • Poetry Collection of the Year: A Crow Passes Evening on Treetop by Besik Kharanauli;
  • Prose Collection of the Year: Junker Eristavi's Boots by Zaal Samadashvili;
  • Digital Book of the Year: Lazare by Otar Jirkvalishvili;
  • Literary Critique of the Year: 20 Georgian Novels by Tamaz Vasadze;
  • Georgian Translation of Foreign Work of the Year: The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles, translated by Tamar Japaridze;
  • Foreign Translation of Georgian Work of the Year: The Knight in the Panther Skin by Lyn Coffin;
  • Special Contribution to Development of Literature: Tariel Tchanturia.
Prizes were awarded by a jury of five judges who revealed winners through voting – three votes were needed to award a prize to a contestant.

The jury panel is changed for every year's competition and involves previously awarded Saba Literary Prize winners.