Balla (Vladimír Balla) has won Slovakia’s biggest literary prize for his novella In the Name of the Father. In its seventh year the Anasoft litera comes with an award of €10,000. Previous winners include Pavel Vilikovský, Marek Vadas, Milan Zelinka, Alta Vášová, Stanislav Rakús and Monika Kompaníková.
Hopefully, the award will give Balla a promotional push so that his writing, which is great, will be published in English translation (there are some short stories forthcoming though).
Slovak writers are in the unenviable situation of languishing in the shadow of a very small country (Czech Republic) that is nevertheless twice its size and sometimes seems to take up the scant literary attention directed to the space between Germany and Russia. None of the previous Anasoft winning books have been translated into English, nor any other works by the winning authors, with the sole exception of Vilikovský’s excellent Ever Green Is…: Selected Prose (2002).
“I don’t see why I should give anyone preferential treatment, just because that person happens to be my son. All right, I wouldn’t kill him. But that’s about it. He’s just a stranger to me. I don’t give a damn about sentiment, not a bloody damn. I haven’t seen my son in years, we haven’t talked in years, everything that once was has now vanished, evaporated, gone.”
– from In the Name of the Father
To read more of the extract (PDF) translated by Julia Sherwood and published in the Slovak Literary Review click here and go to pages 23-25 (or save as PDF, that way it’s easier to find the pages).