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Saba founder Mamuka Khazaradze and Georgian poet Besik Kharaganauli

A Debutant Wins Best Novel at Literary Awards SABA 2015

Georgia’s annual literary award Saba was held yesterday with the sponsorship of TBC Bank.

The prestigious Saba 2015 was held at royal dynasty Bagrationi’s Mukhrani House and offered many surprises for the audience, the most important being a debutant young writer winning in the Best Novel of the Year category.

Abo Iashagashvili was competing in Best Novel with such prominent Georgian writers as Aka Morchiladze, Zurab Karumidze and Lasha Tabukashvili.

Iashagashvili’s novel “Royal-Meri” published by the publishing house Diogene was named the Best Novel of 2o14. The novel is set in the 19th century Georgia, in which a mix of different cultures including Persian and Ottoman co-existed.

“It is a detective-like novel in which you can hear the sounds of that epoch’s Tbilisi streets. Tbilisi’s different areas come alive in the novel,” Iashagashvili told TBC

The renown Georgian poet Besik Kharaganauli won in Saba 2015’s most awaited nomination “Lifetime Contribution to Georgian Literature.”

Besik Kharaganauli is a 1939 Tianeti-Born Georgian poet who was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010. Kharaganauli’s work is known for its Pshavi region’s folk dialect influences, which the poet sustains with his trademark ironic and modernist approach.

Besik Kharaganauli, Georgian Poet
Besik Kharaganauli, Georgian Poet

Kharaganauli’s poetry has enriched and influenced Georgia’s 20th century poetry; it has been translated into French, German, Russian, Czhech, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Azerbaijani, and other languages.

Saba 2015’s other prominent nominations included two contestants sharing Best Translation — Virginia Wolf’s “To the Lighthouse” by Lela Dumbadze and Umberto Eco’s “The Prague Cemetary” by Khatuna Tskhadadze.

Other category winners include:

Best Literary Debut:

Giorgi Tsiklauri, Peter Aykroyd’s London, translation (Azri)

Best Literary Criticism:

Malkhaz Kharbedia, “Text and Truth” (Azri)

Best Essay and Documentary Writing:

Irakli Makharadze “The Grand Mute” (Bakur Sulakauri)

Best Prosaic Collection: 

Gogi Chagelishvili, “The Artist” (Intellect)

Best Translation into Foreign Language: 

Kristiane Lichtenfeld, Otar Chiladze’s “A Man Was Going Down the Road”

The award for the Best Play was withheld by the decision of the jury, who considered it best to not have a winner in this category in 2015. Instead, the prize was transferred to the translation category, which according to the jury, is richest in its contestants each year.

By Nino Gojiashvili

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