The text offers a personal commentary on the state of literary awards in Serbia. It consists of three segments. The first one deliberates on a general cultural/political context of the phenomenon of literary awards. The second one considers the media status, promotion and misuse of literary awards for commercial purposes. The third fragment briefly questions the manner of forming literary award juries and points to two key problems: selection of jury members and lack of transparency in their work.
Awards in culture are considered a significant medium of cultural policy. They affect creators in a stimulating way, encourage more people to become acquainted with a certain art piece or author, favour certain art forms or art in general, and often have an economic component as well. This paper tries to explore in greater depth the encouraging effect that awards have on the artist and connect it to the widely accepted purposes of the cultural policy of a society in transition.
This paper deals with the Most Read Book of the Year Award of the National Library of Serbia (1973-2004) that is the Best Book Award of the network of public libraries of Serbia (2005-2013). On several occasions since 1973 the fate of this award has been uncertain and in 2005 its frame significantly changed. The changes in the profile of the award provoked a strong reaction from the public. Every year, a question is raised as to the fate of this unique award and the reasons for its existence.
In the second half of the 20th century, especially during the 1960s and the 1980s, a growing number of cultural awards, particularly literary ones, marked the intellectual field ie literary art in Serbia. Among these, a special place belongs to the prizes established and given by social-political communities on federal, republic or local levels, which symbolizes the desire of the state and its parts to play the role of a modern benefactor. One of those prizes, which used to be rather prestigious over a long period of time, was the October Award of the City of Belgrade for contribution to art and science, but since 2008 it has lost its place in the culture awards nomenclature. This paper, thanks to participation of the author in the work of the jury of the October Award of the City of Belgrade for literature and translation in the period 1977-1980, reconstructs conditions under which the award was assigned, the authors and their works nominated, as well as the controversies arisen in some cases and reactions of the public. In this period, members of the jury have assessed 77 works, mostly writers’ pieces, a number of works by literary historians, theoreticians and critics, and much fewer translators. In two turns, the work of the jury was undoubtedly colored by the atmosphere of tolerance and concord in decisions on the winners, when a great role in this was played by the jury chairman, Vukoje Bulatović, the manager and chief editor of the “Politika” daily magazine at the time.
State cultural policy plays a major role in the cultural life of every country, since it creates conditions for artistic work and life. This is achieved in a variety of different ways, through legal regulations and financial support for cultural institutions, projects and artists being among some. It is important to recognize that a state cultural policy never functions separately from the general policy of the state, and that every country defines its cultural policy and establishes its priorities depending on its political, social, economic, cultural and other factors. Awarding is an integral part of every cultural policy, and in this research we are also going to overview the most important Serbian national literary awards presented between 1945 and 1980. We will examine the 7th of July Award and the October Award.
The paper is based on available biographic sources on modern Serbian artists which illustrate characteristics of the art award culture. Attention is drawn to branching and multiplying of awards based on development of the visual arts. Also, growing complexity of the awarding procedures is noted, depending on the social circumstances.
The paper addresses the possibility of establishing connections between the procedure of awarding literary prizes on the one hand and the proper evaluation of a literary work on the other, focusing on The Man Booker Prize and The NIN Award for the Novel of the Year. Judging literary works is thought to influence both critical evaluation and achievement of media visibility, but the latter turns out to be more important in the new media environment, as the constant neglect for the elite art serves to move most respectable works to the margins of public interest.
In this paper prize is seen as a sign of distinction and point is made to its ephemeral quality and its connection with the cultural canon, which is reserved for the few cultural heroes and their deeds. Then, on the example of some of the most famous European and national awards, the paper has indicated their prestige and market role. Special attention is given to the media presentation of the awards and the fact that in the absence of media attention the winner and the awarded work are deprived of the presentation to the public. In the final part of the paper, the importance of award receiving is underlined as a social ceremony.