Andrei Volos wins 2013 Russian Booker Prize for "Return to Panjrud"

December 10, 2013
Andrei Volos wins  2013 Russian Booker Prize for "Return to Panjrud" By the verdict of three of the five members of the jury, Andrei Volos has won the 2013 Russian Booker Prize for his novel Return to Panjrud. The prize for the winner is 1.5 million rubles and each of the finalists will receive 150 thousand rubles. This year 82 novels out of the 87 nominated were accepted into the competition for the prize. 

Along with Return to Panjrud the following books were shortlisted for the Russian Booker Prize: 

Laurus by Evgeny Vodolazkin, 
Beta Male by Denis Gutsko, 
Harbin Moths by Andrei Ivanov, 
The Investigator by Margarita Hemlin 
At the Foot of an Immense World by Vladimir Shapko. 

The novels nominated for the prize this year look back to history and mythology, themes that are highly popular and of contemporary appeal.

The protagonist of Return to Panjrud, a novel which Volos had worked on since 1986, is the Tajik-Persian poet Abu Abdallah Rudaki. He was once rich and famous, but later he fell from grace, was blinded and sent back to his home village of Panjrud. In the novel a boy, the poet’s guide, who has not met Rudaki before, helps him in his journey. It eventually becomes clear that it is not the boy who leads the blind man, but the poet with his vast experiences who guides the boy and reveals to him the mysteries of existence.

The Russian Booker Prize, modeled on the English Booker Prize, was established in 1991 and first awarded in 1992. The only difference between these two prizes is that in the case of the Russian Booker Prize, the books are nominated not only by publishers, but also by magazines, universities and libraries. The goal of this prize is to draw readers’ attention to serious prose, to ensure greater commercial success of books that affirm the values so traditional to Russian literature, and also to encourage the work of translators. 

The Russian Booker Prize has been awarded in the past to such authors as Bulat Okudzhava, Ludmila Ulitskaya, Alexandr Ilichevsky, Mikhail Elizarov, Vasily Aksenov, Vladimir Makanin, Mikhail Butov and others.