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China’s Most Prestigious Poetry Prize Goes to a Hungarian

Hungary Today 2023.06.15.
István Turczi receives his diploma as newly elected member of the European Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters in 2020

The 1573 International Grand Prize for Poetry has been awarded to István Turczi, poet and winner of the Attila József, the Babérkoszorú (Bay Leaf Wreath), and the Prima Primissima prizes – reported Kultura.hu.

The winner of this year’s 1573 International Grand Prize for Poetry has been announced in China: for the first time since its founding, Hungarian poet István Turczi, winner of the Attila József, Babérkoszorú, and Prima Primissima prizes, poet, translator, university lecturer, founding editor-in-chief of the Parnassus magazine and publishing house, secretary general of the Hungarian PEN Club, and repeatedly re-elected president of the Poetry Section of the Hungarian Writers’ Union, will receive the most prestigious and largest cash prize.

This October, the prize will be awarded at a cultural meeting and gala evening in the historic city of Luzhou in the Sichuan Province, which will last several days and will be attended by hundreds of Chinese and foreign literary experts.

Luzhou, Sichuan Province

At the award ceremony,

the winner will receive a 50-year-old bottle of “white liquor” in its original bottle, worth 10,000 euros, and a prize of 20,000 euros, in addition to a certificate of distinction.

The world-renowned professional award has previously been given to celebrities such as Lithuanian Tomas Venclova; Italian Nobel Prize for Literature nominee Guido Oldani; French Apollinaire Prize winner Jean-Pierre Simeon; Sona Van, a leading figure in Armenian-American lyric poetry; one of the greatest living Irish poets, Eiléan Ni Chuilleanáin; and earlier, the well-known Syrian-born Adonis, who lives in Paris and was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature, and was the recipient of the 2014 Janus Pannonius Poetry Prize.

Photo: Facebook/SONA VAN

The 1573 Poetry Grand Prize jury is chaired by the most famous contemporary Chinese national poet, Jidi Majia, whose poems are available to the world in 30 languages and whose two books have been published in Hungarian.

The translator of István Turczi’s poems is Yu Zemin, who has previously been awarded the Pro Cultura Hungarica prize in Hungary and is an outstanding translator and representative of contemporary Hungarian literature in China. In addition to translating the poems of Hungarian poets Sándor Petőfi, Endre Ady, Attila József, Sándor Weöres, Géza Szőcs, among others, he has translated such epochal novels as The Boys of Paul Street, Confessions of a Citizen, Fatelessness, Harmonia Caelestis, Parallel Stories and Satan’s Tangent.

Yu Zemin; Photo: Facebook/Kortárs Kínai Írók / Irodalom / Könyvklub

In the course of his 20-year career, Yu Zemin has been the main medium through which Chinese readers have come to know modern classical and contemporary Hungarian literature. The prize, which has been awarded since 2017, is now one of the most important literary awards in China, jointly established by the Chinese Writers’ Association, the Chinese Opera and Dance Theater, the Luzhou Municipality, and the Luzhou Laojiao Liqueur Factory, the main sponsor of the prize and event. The oldest cellar in the city has been in operation from 1573 to the present day, and still produces a special premium quality liqueur using traditional methods, which is now considered one of the most noble and highly valued liqueurs in China.

Photo: Facebook/Wang Mester Kínai Konyhája

In addition to fostering cultural and literary ties with China, the stated aim of the Grand Prize is to promote to the world the thousands of years of tradition of the intertwining of the liquor and poetry cultures.

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Via Kultura.hu, Featured image: Facebook/Turczi István

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