More than a dozen writers boycott “Litera” – the reason is the inclusion of a representative of the Ministry in the jury


The annual competition, organized by the Writers’ House, was initially boycotted by Torres Moss and Mate Saralishvili over Minister Tsulukiani’s tough policies, while other authors refused to participate in the competition after it became known that a five-member jury member On the basis of the Ministry inserted. The list of writers who quit “Litera” is growing every hour. The head of the Writers’ House, Natasha Lomour, told RFE / RL that such a case had never occurred in the history of the award and that the situation was very difficult to assess.

The name of the Writers’ House, “Litera”, our other projects, which we have built and built for many years, and with such decisions, can be suddenly destroyed. We have always been impartial and although all our major projects have always been funded by the ministry, never There was interference from them, there was not even an attempt, no one will ask how the jury works “- Says Natasha Lomour with Radio Liberty.

The Writers’ House is an independent organization under the Ministry, and for the first time in the history of Litera, the Ministry intervened in the competition in this way, despite the order of the Minister. [N00007864], Which changes the rules of staffing the jury not only to the Writers’ House, but also to other independent organizations (for example, the Film Center) and the Ministry.

The writers are dissatisfied not only with the nomination of a candidate from the Ministry as a member of the jury, but also with the identity of this particular candidate – publicist Ioseb Chumburidze is known to the public for his anti-Western sentiments and loyal attitude towards the former chairman of the ruling party, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

The Ministry of Culture has nominated its representative Ioseb Chumburidze, Tsulukiani’s advisor, to the Litera Literary Award “Litera” jury. Ghosts “ – Literary critic Zaal Andronikashvili writes and thinks that not only the writers, but also the other members of the jury should protest and boycott the decision of the Ministry.

“Sorry. It will not work out that way. 4 selected, but one member of the jury appointed from” above “. It is very unpleasant and dangerous. I ended up with a few arguments. – This is how writer and poet, Radio Liberty journalist Eka Kevanishvili was excluded from the literary award as a sign of protest. His book “Transportation of the Poor Will Stop Nowhere” was nominated for Best Poetry of the Year.

“Today I also join my dear colleagues who protested against the removal of their books from the prize and call on all writers who value the future of this country, Georgian culture and literature, who believe that we should never go back to the Soviet past, express your position and raise your voice. Against ugliness.

“I also express my solidarity with the Writers’ House and its staff, because I think that Bidzina Gauma …” The poet Irakli Kakabadze wrote on his Facebook page, after the Writers’ House said that their ministry was obliged to announce the identity of the competition jury before the award ceremony. The behavior of the ministry reminded him of the “Bolshevik rule”. Irakli Kakabadze’s “Ascension Street” was also nominated for the best poetry collection of the year.

Translator Maia Badridze recalls how a Dutch colleague told her that extremists had threatened to behead her because of Salman Rushdie’s translation that if she gave up one step of freedom today, she would be taken away tomorrow. Maia Badridze not only announces a full boycott of the Ministry of Culture.

The Ministry does not answer questions, does not consider the explanation necessary with the writers, considers the criticism to be unfounded and says only that the Ministry does not interfere in the competition and “The ministry has only to do with this competition because one in a five-member competition commission is a representative of the ministry.” The agency also emphasizes that GEL 50,000 has been transferred to the Writers ‘House for the competition and that this amount will be managed by the Writers’ House independently.

The prize fund of the literary prize is 30 000 GEL. The winner of 6 nominations receives a cash prize of GEL 5,000. There is only one competition “long list” at the moment, and the jury must compile a short competition list of more than 70 books and authors to identify the winners. Literature has two components and in addition to Georgian modern original literature, it is also held for translators. Who the Ministry elects as a member of the translation competition jury is still unknown to the Writers’ House itself.

Specialists working in various fields of art have been demanding from the Ministry for years, not only to maintain the autonomy of independent SIP competitions, but also to recruit persons without field competitions announced by the Ministry, specialists in the field and to make the conditions of the competition more transparent. The policy and vision of the Ministry differs from the vision and policy of the cultural workers. In addition to organizing chaotic competitions, the criteria of which are not clear, priorities are uncertain, and their impact on culture is invaluable, and the Ministry is also trying to make changes to existing, traditional competitions.

If Minister Tsulukiani appoints a representative of the Ministry to the jury in the Literature and Film Center competitions, Iakob Gogebashvili’s prize in juvenile literature was completely taken away from the Writers’ House and handed over to Creative Georgia, headed by Irma Ratiani. Irma Ratiani, the former head of the Institute of Literature, appeared in the ministry after the decision of Minister Mikheil Giorgadze to abolish the National Book Center and the idea of ​​creating a $ 50 million cultural fund, which would include managing competitions. Eventually, Irma Ratan became the head of “Creative Georgia” after the head of this agency resigned due to the fact that Creative Georgia was no longer fulfilling its original goals.

“I do not have an answer, I could not get an answer from someone from the ministry, why such changes are taking place. Says Natasha Lomour talking to us.