In less than an hour, the jury selected ‘Novel of the Year’

The winner of the National Literary Prize of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ has been singled out, with the jury members observing social distancing

Text: Magdalena Gigova

Vidio: Tzvetan Ignatovski

Within 50 minutes, the jury of the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Literary Prize for Bulgarian Novel of the Year chose their nominated work for 2020. The prominent members of the commission had no disagreements and announced ‘The Stricken’ by Theodora Dimova as the ninth winner of the prestigious prize.

On this occasion of the most esteemed writers’ race, many things happened for the first time. Never before has it been conducted during a pandemic and quarantine, circumstances that delayed the announcement of the winner by several months.

Until now, the jury members were kept secret so as not to come under pressure from ambitious authors and publishers. Prof. DSc (Phil.) Boyan Biolchev, Chairman, and members Prof. DSc (Phil.) Amelia Licheva, Zdravka Evtimova, Atanas Kapralov and Svetlozar Zhelev were nominated by authoritative literary institutions.

For the first time in the competition’s history, the meeting was held in compliance with the mandatory social distancing of 1.5 metres. For this purpose, NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ spaced out the chairs in Prof. Vasil Gerov Hall with the aid of a tape measure.

Before Prof. Boyan Biolchev announced this year’s winner of the Novel of the Year Prize, the jury held an inspiring and meaningful discussion on contemporary trends in Bulgarian literature, the significance of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ in its development, and on changes in the language. (You can follow the entire discussion in the video.)

The jury members were unanimous that, in this competition, their sole regret was that, under the regulations, there could be only six nominees. A great number of the 30 novels that were received demonstrated the qualities to participate in the race.

The contenders were Georgi Tenev with ‘Balkan Ritual’, Demetra Duleva with ‘The Wandering Albatros’, Momchil Nikolov (who won the prize three years ago) with ‘Chekmo’, ‘Chronicles of the Unknown’, author Nikolai Terziyski, the doyen Vladimir Zarev with ‘The Monster’, and the winner Theodora Dimova with ‘The Stricken’.

The award ceremony will take place on 11 June, at the headquarters of the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ Fund.

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