Book of the Year 2021

LIC, the Literary Information Center, together with the literary monthly Knižná revue organizes the annual reader's award Kniha roka / Book of the Year. From 26 April to 30 May 2021, readers could vote for their favorite titles online. They were able to pick from 30 nominated candidates: books of various genres that came out in 2020. The nomination committee consisted of Tina Čorná Sikorová, editor in chier of Knižná revue, editor Dominika Madro, and literary scientists, critics and translators Markéta Andričíková, Igor Hochel, Ivana Hostová, Gabriela Magová, Vilam Nádaskay, Zoltán Rédey and Radoslav Passia. They have chosen 20 books in the main Book of the Year category and 5 titles in the categories Debut of the Year and Children's and YA Book of the Year each. 902 readers of Knižná revue have voted for their favorite books. Most people voted in the main category (329). 

The main prize Book of the Year, with 72 votes, went to Tremolo Ostinato -- a non-novel by Veronika Šikulová, published by Slovart. Jana Beňová and her Flaneur's Shirt took second place, while Topography of Pain by Ivan Lesay came in third. The book Satori in Trenčín by Lukáš Cabala was the debut of the year (published by Artforum). Dominika Moravčíková and her distinct poetic debut Children of Hamelm was second. Nataša Holinová's novel inspired by reality, An Old Lady's Case, was third. In the children's category, The Tree of Life by Dávid Ursíny won, while Jašo at the Fair by Soňa Uriková lost only by three votes. Veronika Dianišková's Pirate Fairy-tales came in third. 

"We all need to search for and find ourselves in stories -- I think the winners of the Book of the Year 2020 prove that," said one of the judges Markéta Andričíková. "The Tree of Life -- Fairy Tales from the Great Amazonia by Dávid Ursíny, from the children's and YA books category, is an engaging guide to the mythology of the Amazonian Indians. Aside from the symbolical mythologic stories, the book offers its readers the thrill of exploring the laws of the world, the changing of day and night, creation of plants, animals and people. For the young reader, these are first and foremost colorful stories full of secrets and thrill, and for the reading adult, they present a precious source of knowledge and the possibilty to search for connections to myths of the Western culture, as well as finding universal images of the human, natural and most of all transcendent world."

"Cabala's Satori in Trenčín touches on different philosophical or religious systems. The title uncovers an ironizing tone. [...] In the story of a man named Vincent, reality intersects with fiction, the present with the past, known and unknown figures appear. And so it appears that satori could happen anytime and any place, perhaps even after reading this book with very suggestive illustrations by Anna Cima."

"Since Book of the Year 2020 went to a work of imaginative (artistic) prose instead of, say, a literary-science or a non-fiction book, which were also nominated in 2020 -- and since it is specifically Veronika Šikulová's Tremolo Ostinato -- a non-novel --, then it means that readers (at least the ones who voted) are neither necessarily attached to traditional, linear storytelling, or to the classic format of a novel, nor are they expecting a big narrative arc that should hold their attention," says Zoltán Rédey. "On the contrary, they are able to appreciate not only the poetics of the story, a certain fabulative resourcefullness and skill of the author, but especially the aesthetic force of the prose -- the expressive and stylistic prominence of the author's authentic narration, the uniqueness of her original narrative gesture, the fully played out polyphony within the genre and topic, as well as within the langauge and expression [...]."

Our heartfelt congratulations to all winners!


This text is comprised from original content of the magazine Knižná revue 6/2021, translation by LIC. 

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