continue the series that started in our October ezine, let us look closely at yet another prominent literary award in this issue- The Neustadt International Prize for Literature.
Neustadt is one of the world's most distinguished literary awards, yet I was surprised at how little information was available on it in the Internet. Can you imagine that Google does not even have a single picture of the certificate or the award itself ? I wonder if this is because of the shyness of the Neustadt managing committee or because of some silly search engine oversight!
Neustadt International Prize for Literature
Neustadt is one of the most prominent literary awards of the world and was established in 1969 by Ivar Ivask, editor of Books Abroad. The prize consists of a replica of a silver eagle feather, a certificate and 50,000 USD. The award is named after Walter and Doris Neustadt whose generous donation grants it perpetuity. You can see Walter Neustadt's picture on the right.
This award is widely considered to be the most prestigious international literary award after the Nobel Prize for literature, yet not much information is available to the public about it. The complete lack of publicity around this event is chiefly responsible for this.
Unlike the Nobel which is conferred every year, the Neustadt is a
biennial award( given once in every two years) and is sponsored by the University of Oklahoma along with its quarterly journal, the World Literature Today.
Like the Nobel however, the Neustadt is awarded to a writer for his entire body of work and not for a specific piece of literature alone. Again like the Nobel, poetry, novels and drama are equally eligible for the award and geography or language of the composition is not a constraint. However, it is a requisite that a prominent body of the award aspirant's work be available in either English, French or Spanish- the three languages used in jury deliberations. The jury is usually a body of at least seven members selected by the World Literature Today from prominent international writers. Being selected as juror for the Neustadt is a great honor in itself.
Book Review Circle gossip
The Neustadt is often called the American Nobel not only because it originates from America but also because of its record 27 laureates(candidates or jurors) who in the past 39 years have been awarded the Nobel following their involvement with the Neustadt.
Book Review Circle suggested read:
Chinese poet Duo Duo's works. Duo Duo is the recipient of the Neustadt in 2010.Some of his poems have been translated into English by Gregory B Lee. Book Review Circle Quiz:
See if you know answers to the following
- What was the initial name for the Neustadt International Prize for literature?
- Walter Neustadt, the man responsible for the funding of the prizes died very recently. When?
- Books Abroad International Prize for Literature. The name was changed to Neustadt International Prize for literature in 1976
- Jan 5th ,2010 at the age of 90
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Ok. I will leave you to munch on that.
Happy reading till we meet again.