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Cankar Prize, new literary award on the horizon

Ljubljana, 3 December - Slovenian authors will soon be able to compete for a new award, as several high-profile institutions have joined forces to launch the Cankar Prize in honour of one of the greatest Slovenian authors, Ivan Cankar (1876-1918), the centenary of whose death is remembered this year.

Ljubljana
A letter of intent to introduce the Cankar Prize signed by representatives of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU), Slovenian PEN, University of Ljubljana and the SAZU's Science and Research Centre (ZRC).
Photo: Bor Slana/STA

Ljubljana
A letter of intent to introduce the Cankar Prize signed by representatives of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU), Slovenian PEN, University of Ljubljana and the SAZU's Science and Research Centre (ZRC).
Photo: Bor Slana/STA

Ljubljana
A letter of intent to introduce the Cankar Prize signed by representatives of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU), Slovenian PEN, University of Ljubljana and the SAZU's Science and Research Centre (ZRC).
Photo: Bor Slana/STA

The new award, for which a sponsor contributing the prize money is yet to be found, will be given out for the first time on 10 May 2020, the 143rd anniversary of Cankar's birth.

It will be conferred in one of the four categories of literature Cankar excelled in: fiction, plays, poetry or essay.

An honoured author will be able to win it in one category only once in a lifetime, but will still be eligible to win it in the other categories.

Theoretically, an author could win four Cankar Prizes, member of the award's management board Alojzija Zupan Sosič of the University of Ljubljana told the press on Monday.

This means that the prize differs from all the other literary prizes in Slovenia which usually honour either poetry or fiction, essays or translations.

A letter of intent to introduce the new award was signed in Cankarjev Dom, the arts centre which bears Cankar's surname, by representatives of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU), Slovenian PEN, University of Ljubljana and the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU).

A call for applications is expected to be released on 10 May in 2019 and the first prize will be conferred exactly a year later.

Ifigenija Simonović, Slovenian PEN president, said the prize was meant to "support Slovenian authors and elevate the quality of literature, to at least try to equal Cankar".

SAZU vice-president Peter Štih said he would like the award to turn, with the help of patrons, into one of the main prizes for literature.

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© STA, 2018