No novels, short stories deserve Jalal Literary Awards, juries say 

January 5, 2021 - 18:2

TEHRAN – No books in the novel and short story categories were deemed worthy of the 13th edition of the Jalal Al-e Ahmad Literary Awards, the juries said in their statements published on Monday.

Winners in other categories of Iran’s most lucrative literary award, whose prize money increased from one billion rials to 1.5 billion rials (Over $13,000), announced other winners during a TV program broadcast from IRIB Channel 4 on Monday night.

In the novel section, “Mid-Day Incantations” by Mansur Alimoradi only received an honorable mention. 

“Mid-Day Incantations” published by Nimaj tells two interrelated stories about the central character of the book in a magical journey to Iran’s Lut Desert and a romantic life with a stage artist in Tehran.

“Hard Labor” by Mohammad Hanif and “The Imaginative” by Ahmad Hassanzadeh were other nominees in this category, which was judged by Saeid Tashakkori, Javad Afhami and Ali Changizi.

In their statement, the jury of the short story section said, “All the story collections submitted to the organizers were not acceptable technically in their structure and context, therefore, there is no technical and professional justification for selecting a book as a winner of the literary award or honorable mention.”        

“Autumn 32” by Reza Julai, which contains short stories in Iran after World War II until the Anglo-American coup in Iran in 1953, and “Flamingos of Bakhtegan” by Ali Salehi Bafqi were nominated for the award in this section.

Dariush Abedi, Razieh Tojjar and Abdolmajid Najafi were the members of the jury of this section.

The literary review category had also no winner. The jury composed of Hamidreza Shairi, Mohammadreza Sangari and Kamran Parsinejad only gave honorable mentions to “History of the Body in Literature” by Seyyed Mehdi Zarqani and “Narratology of Drama” by Parastu Mohebbi.

In the documentation category, Fazlollah Saberi’s book “Frequency 1160” and Tayyebeh Pazuki’s “Gem of Patience” shared the award.

“Gem of Patience” (“Gohar of Patience”) is a memoir of Gohar ash-Sharieh Dastgheib, a political activist and a former reformist MP of the Iranian parliament after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. 

“Frequency 1160” covers over one hundred interviews with the hosts of Frequency 1160, a local radio station broadcasting in the southwestern Iranian city of Abadan in the early days of the Iran-Iraq war to encourage civilians in their resistance against the Iraqi invaders.

“From Rey to Damascus”, an IRGC senior commander Ahmad Gholami’s account of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war and his fight against the ISIS terrorists in Syria, received an honorable mention in this section.

The book is the outcome of an interview scholar Ali Mojdehi conducted in 18 sessions with Gholami. The book remained unfinished due to his death in a battle in Syria in 2016.

This year, the organizers initiated a special category named “Forty Years of Sacred Defense Fiction” to honor the authors of the foremost stories created about the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, which is known as the Sacred Defense in Iran.

The top writers of war literature were Habib Ahmadzadeh, Hamid Hesam, Ahmad Dehqan, Davud Amirian, Golali Babai, Akbar Sahrai, Davud Ghaffarzadegan, Qassemali Ferasat, Mohammadreza Bayrami, Rahim Makhdumi, Majid Qeisari and Ali Moazzeni.

They were selected during a poll of 19 journalists and representatives of the media active in the literature arena.

Photo: A combination photo shows the books “Gem of Patience” and “Frequency 1160”, which shared the prize in the documentation category of the 13th Jalal Al-e Ahmad Literary Awards.


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