Damir Karakaš wins the 13th tportal award for the best Croatian novel. The novel 'Celebration', published by OceanMor, brought him recognition. In addition to a cash prize of HRK 50,000, the writer received a keyboard statue.
"I am thrilled because of the tportal award for the novel of the year in Croatia. When I found out about the final decision of the jury, it was a very nice feeling, a kind of additional recognition for what you do ", says Damir Karakaš and adds that 'Celebration' was by far best received of all his books so far.
"I think it also had a record number of reviews in the whole region, it was also number one on many annual literary lists, so I was hoping I might be able to win this time, but I've often been so close before, and in the end It would turn out - still too far. In twenty-odd years, I don't even remember how many finals I participated in Croatia, and during that time, I received only one award. In fact, now I can happily say I won two. This money also means a lot to me because I live only from writing, and it will help me to dedicate myself as much as possible to my new literary works," Karakaš said. He received the award at his home address, instead of at the traditional award ceremony, which tportal did not organize this year, adhering to precautionary measures due to the coronavirus.
For the 13th literary award, tportal also presented a new jury consisting of Croatist Andrea Milanko, president, translator and poet Vanda Mikšić, director Anica Tomić, writer Robert Perišićat, psychologist and tportal columnist Boris Jokić.
"While working on the selection of works to take the title of best novel in 2019, we came across several novels that manage to afford the true pleasure of reading as opposed to the superficiality and speed of today's content reception," the jury said in its explanation. However, they add, 'Damir Karakaš managed to create a space of literary imagination that deserves an award with his suggestive prose, cinematic dramatic situations, and the stylistically polished sentence'.
With the novel 'Celebration', which deviates from the horizon of expectations with its composition, he impressively outlined the characters with sparing use of classical description - he gave them contours with gestures, moments, twitches, silence, glances - and the reader can reconstruct and further upgrade them in space and historical context, at the same time general and sufficiently precise. In doing so, the author relies heavily on the knowledge of his reader and asks him to cooperate on an imaginary and ethical level of interpretation.
The main protagonist does not evolve as expected from a traditional novel but could be said to be experiencing a kind of symbolic involution. In the reconstruction of his journey, the outlines of social and historical limitations are hoped for, within which we see the possibilities of the protagonist's horizon, as well as indications of his decisions in an ominous perspective, for which, in the end, he awaits a merciful judgment.
The ellipticity of the narrative fundamentally moves the text away from the form of the historical novel and approaches the poeticized prose of the event metaphor, broken between the rough and the fluid, the social and the natural environment.
The text is characterized by suggestiveness and poeticism and immersion in image, word, tone, sound, silence, which resonate in the reader; The novel 'Celebration' is a significant place of difference in this distinctive poetic line in the context of contemporary prose production ', concludes the jury in its explanation of the award of the tportal literary prize for the best Croatian novel to Damir Karakaš.
'I am delighted that tportal awarded the literary prize for the 13th time in a row, in extremely challenging times. Tportal will continue to follow and support culture, and the fact that we exceeded the number of two million readers this spring only speaks to how much of an impulse it is for cultural and then literary topics to reach a wider audience. I thank everyone who participated in our competition, especially the writers, their editors and publishers, and our jury, for their strong engagement. Congratulations to all the finalists, and especially to Damir Karakaš on a great novel. Even though we live in difficult times, when you read 'Celebration' you will realize that it is nothing compared to the lives and destinies that befall some people. So read on ', said the editor-in-chief of tportal, Danijela Jozić.