The tportal’s twelfth literary award for the best Croatian novel was awarded to the author Nikola Petković for the novel “Trip to Gonars” published by Profil, and the prize of fifty thousand kunas and a keyboard statue were handed to him on June 3 at the ceremony at the Mimara Museum in Zagreb
“I'm glad you recognized if not necessarily the literariness of the novel, and of course there is also that in it, but that moment in the book when all the values are relativized and when concentration camps appear like fun. In writing this novel, I was led by Walt Whitman, who said that there are no winners in the war because they all lose something. I wrote from the perspective of a small man who always, and I'll say it in Čakavian dialect, gets *ucked, Nikola Petković said when he received the prize.
“The novel “Trip to Gonars” by Nikola Petrović refers the reader in a certain local space and immediate past, at the time of suffering, controversy and misunderstanding, the events that have been given to the storyteller who gives them new content and context. The feeling that there are no reliable witnesses is a possible authentic space for writing a novel that deals with the trauma of time, saving own existence, your life and the lives of others”, said the jury of the 12th literary prize comprising of literary critic Katarina Luketić, editors and writers Jadranka Pintarić and Miroslav Mićanović, theatrical director Ivica Buljan and literary translator and president of the jury Ursula Burger.
“If we have learned anything from discussing the usefulness and harm of history for life, then it is a suggestion that going back to the past is not a way of discovering forgotten or lost truths, but the only way to understand present, everyday life, modernity, understand and discover our own role and place in the world we live in. Detecting the relationships of power of times of distress, the language of the novel “Trip to Gonars' has the performative power to construct different identities by trying to reveal and represent a complex network of relationships, roles, losses and defeats, crimes and guilt ... or simply survival! We would say the added values of the novel are humor, skill to combining different language registers and narrative strategies, finding ways to indirectly talk about the camp (in response to the eternal Adorn question) through the silence about the camp, the atmosphere and the events in the place of its absence (Bakar)“, the jury said.
Nikola Petković, biography
Author, university professor, literary critic and publicist Nikola Petković was born in Rijeka in 1962 and he graduated philosophy and comparative literature at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb. He has also got his master’s and doctoral degree in the United States. From 2011 to the end of January 2018 he was the president of the Croatian Society of Writers. He published the novels “Stories of the Yesteryear” in 1989, “The lullaby for the dead”, and “How to tie the shoes”, 2011.
About Tportal’s literary award
The tportal’s literary prize for the best Croatian novel has been awarded since 2008, and with years it became a relevant fact of the domestic cultural scene. The only domestic literary prize is awarded for a novel written in the Croatian language issued by a publisher registered in Croatia and, with the promotion of authors and literary creativity, is aimed at the promotion of publishing.
Last year, the best novel was “The Fox” by Dubravka Ugrešić, published by Fraktura d.o.o.
In the previous years, the awards were given to the authors Olja Savičević Ivančević for the novel “Adios Cowboy” (Algoritam, new edition Sandorf) and Sibila Petlevski for “Time of Lies” (Fraktura), Dalibor Šimpraga for the novel '”Anastasia” (Durieux), Tahir Mujičić for the novel “Be Hamlet, Mr. Hamlet” (AGM), Drago Glamuzina for the novel “Three” (Profil), Zoran Malkoč for the novel “Roki Raketa” (Profil), Ivica Đikić for novel “I Dreamed of the Elephants' (Naklada Ljevak) and Slobodan Šnajder for the “Brass Times” (Tim Press).