Estonian poet and philosopher Jaan Kaplinski was awarded in Moscow by the contest that celebrates the best works written in Russian by foreign authors.
The international literary contest "Russian Award" was established in 2005, with an aim to support Russian-speaking writers around the world.
Kaplinski won in the poetry category, for his book “Butterflies of the Night”. “It is the greatest surprise I have ever encountered in my career as a writer. I'm an established writer in Estonia who does not have any obstacles for getting published – it is sort of business as usual in my homeland. But to become a Russian writer suddenly is an exciting challenge and thrilling experience,” Kaplinski told ERR.
The organizer and head of the competition Tatiana Moskovskaya added that awarding an Estonian writer with the award feels special. “It is extraordinary. We are very delighted that a renowned Estonian poet who usually writes in Estonian, has written a book in Russian, conducting it so brilliantly and adding such a remarkable tone of Russian poetry.”
Jelena Skulskaja, an Estonian-Russian journalist who was a member of the “Russian Award” jury, added that it is a significant recognition of Kaplinski's work. “The award means that Kaplinski is on par with the best Russian poets, he is able to write so well in Russian. We ought to be proud.”
The award was presented to Kaplinski by Naina Yeltsina, the widow of the first President of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin, who is much respected in Estonia for his contribution toward Estonia regaining its independence from the Soviet Union during the tense period in 1990-1991. Yeltsina has been a longstanding supporter of the „Russian Award“.
Writers from seven countries - Germany, Denmark, Canada, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Ukraine, and Estonia – took part in the event in the Russian capital. The participants and guests were also greeted with a statement by Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister. “The competition has become a unique platform that brings together talented Russian-speaking authors from many countries who share a love for Russia and its rich cultural heritage,” he said.
Jaan Kaplinski has published numerous collections of poems, prose, and essays since 1965. His work has been translated into many languages, including French, Dutch, Japanese, and Hebrew.
Editor: S. Tambur