The “Ivo Andrić Grand Prize” was presented on Monday evening to the Serbian poet Miroslav Maksimović for his life’s work, and to the Russian writer Yevgeny Vodolazkin for the best novel “Brisbane.”
The decision was made by a jury consisting of Slađana Ilić, Milo Lompar, and Zelidrag Nikčević.
The director of the Andrić Institute, Emir Kusturica, has said that when this Institute was founded, the idea was that great writers, such as Peter Handke and other greats, would come to this space.
“Everybody writes, but great writers stand out, not only because of their choice of topic but also because of their form,” noted Kusturica.
He has pointed out that it is a happy solution that Vodolazkin received the award for the best novel and that Maksimović’s award represents, above all, a spiritual gain.
The president of the jury, Slađana Ilić, read the explanation of the jury’s decision to award the Lifetime Achievement Award to the Serbian poet Miroslav Maksimović which, among other things, says that Maksimović is one of the most important contemporary Serbian poets and the author of a large number of books that have been translated into numerous languages.
“His poetry contains motifs and themes related to the life of a modern human being, as well as life’s joys and difficulties,” said Ilić.
Maksimović wished a happy Republika Srpska Day and thanked Kusturica and the members of the jury for the award.
He said that he had seen Ivo Andrić only once in the early seventies of the past century.
“I was in a hurry and I almost collided with Andrić at the ‘Moskva’ hotel. It was a gray autumn day. Ivo was in a gray suit and blended into the landscape, but with a gentlemanly attitude, he emphasized his presence as if by his appearance he was saying that life is not only what is around us, but what we carry inside us. And what we carry inside us is not only ours, but we received it from other people, genetically, through historical memory,” Maksimović pointed out after Kusturica presented him with the “Ivo Andrić Grand Prize.”
Speaking about the decision for the novel “Brisbane” to be declared the best, Ilić has said that the Russian writer Yevgenij Vodolazkin also earned the recognition of the Andrić Institute with his work which was received before him by greats like Peter Handke and Zahar Prilepin.
Vodolazkin thanked the jury and congratulated his colleague Makimović, adding that he envied him for seeing Andrić.
“I didn’t see Ivo Andrić, but I saw and still see Emir Kusturica, another great man from these parts. I also want to thank him for his hospitality,” said Vodolazkin.
He pointed out that Andrić was the one who built the bridge in Visegrad.
“I have already seen that bridge from afar and I hope that I will be able to take a stroll. I would like everyone who is in conflict, who is at war all over the world to take a stroll on that bridge because bridges connect. I have not yet seen a bridge that separates,” he said
At the beginning of the ceremony, Marko Ristić and Đorđe Perić, students of the elementary music school “Kornelije Stanković” from Ugljevik, performed on accordion.
Miroslav Maksimović is one of the leading Serbian poets whose works have been translated into many languages, and he is the recipient of the most prestigious Serbian literary awards. He is the author of 11 collections of poetry and two books of essays. He was born in NJegoševo on May 26, 1946.
Maksimović’s most important collections are “The Sleeper under a Lighter,” “Changers,” “1972,” “Sonnets about Life’s Joys and Difficulties,” “55 Sonnets about Life’s Joys and Difficulties,” “Heaven”, “Selected Poems,” “Belgrade Poems,” “77 Sonnets about Life’s Joys and Difficulties.”
Yevgeny Vodolazkin is a Russian scientist and prose writer. He was born in Kiev on February 21, 1964.
He graduated from the Department of Philology of Kiev University in 1986. In the same year, he enrolled in postgraduate studies at the Institute for Russian Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences /Pushkin House/ at the Department of Old Russian Literature. In 1990, he defended his graduation thesis on the topic of the translation of the Byzantine “Chronicle of Đorđe Amartolos.” In 2000, he defended his doctoral dissertation on the topic of “World History in the Literature of Ancient Russia.” For years he studied the concept of storytelling in literary monuments. His bibliography contains numerous scientific articles and thematic monographs.
Vodolazkina’s books are read all over the world. They were published in 34 languages.
He wrote the novels “The Kidnapping of Europe” in 2005, “Solovyov and Larionov” in 2009, “Lavr” in 2013, “Aviator” in 2016, “Brisbane” in 2018, “Justification of the Island” in 2020, and “Chagin” in 2022.
He is the recipient of numerous awards for prose works. He lives in Saint Petersburg.
The “Ivo Andrić Grand Prize” has been awarded since 2015, when Matija Bećković and Vladimir Kecmanović were awarded, and after them, the laureates were Dušan Kovačević, Zahar Prilepin, Yu Hua, Bora Đorđević, Goran Petrović, Rajko Petrov Nogo, Dragoslav Mihailović, Guzelj Jahina, Milovan Danojlić, and Peter Handke.