The Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Literature Prize
In 1997 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn fulfilled a dream he had harbored ever since receiving the Nobel Prize – to establish a literature prize in Russia, one that, as he said, would “not overlook the worthy” authors, nor “reward the empty” ones.
The mission of the prize is to recognize Russian literature, in all its genres. Laureates can be prose writers, poets, playwrights, literary critics and scholars of literature. The prize has been expanded to incorporate contributions to the study of Russian culture, history and social thought. What unites all laureates is that their work must be in the Russian language and written in Russia at any time after the 1917 Revolution. In a small minority of cases, laureates have been recognized posthumously. A laureate cannot receive the award twice.
For almost twenty years now, the announcement of the Solzhenitsyn Literary Prize every March, and the award ceremony held shortly after Easter, have become important events in Russian literary life. While the prize has been awarded mainly to prose writers and poets, the list of recipients includes linguists, literary critics, directors and actors who have brought literature to the screen.
One of the distinguishing features of the prize is that it is the only one in Russia to be founded “for writers by a writer”. The $25,000 annual prize is funded from the proceeds of worldwide publications of The Gulag Archipelago.
Vladimir Petrovich Yenisherlov, historic preservationist
Grigory Mikhailovich Kruzhkov, poet and translator
Sergei Vasilievich Zhenovach, theater director
Irina Bentsionovna Rodnianskaia, literary critic
Maxim Albertovich Amelin, poet, translator, publisher
Oleg Olegovich Pavlov, writer
Elena Tsezarevna Chukovskaya, publisher and editor
Valentin Lavrentievich Yanin, historian
Viktor Petrovich Astafiev, author (posthumously)
Boris Petrovich Ekimov, writer
Sergei Georgievich Bocharov, literary critic
Andrei Anatolievich Zaliznyak, linguist
Alexei Nikolaevich Varlamov, prose writer
Igor Petrovich Zolotussky, literature critic
Vladimir Vladimirovich Bortko, film director
Evgeny Vitalievich Mironov, actor
Yuri Mikhailovich Kublanovsky, poet
Olga Aleksandrovna Sedakova, poet
Leonid Ivanovich Borodin, prose writer
Alexander Sergeievich Panarin, philosopher
Konstantin Dmitrievich Vorobyev, writer (posthumously)
Evgeny Ivanovich Nosov, writer
Valentin Grigorievich Rasputin, prose writer
Inna Lvovna Lisnyanskaya, poet
Vladimir Nikolaevich Toporov, philologist
professor of literature, publisher
President of the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Russian Social Fund
Learn More About the Prize
Natalya Solzhenitsyn discusses the history and her late husband's goals for the prize in a 1997 interview with Aleksandr Shchuplov that was published in Knizhnoe Obozrenie, (“The Book Review”).