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Nobel Committee for Literature to consider Nyaklyayew`s nomination for 2012 prize


The Nobel Committee at the Swedish Academy has registered PEN Belarus’ application nominating Uladzimir Nyaklyayew for the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, PEN Chairman Andrey Khadanovich told BelaPAN on Friday.

“The decision to nominate Nyaklyayew for the Nobel Prize in Literature was made by PEN Belarus in February 2011, when Nyaklyayew was in custody,” said Mr. Khadanovich. “It was made as part of a campaign of solidarity with the renowned poet and active citizen. It was an attempt to draw public attention to him in order to guarantee his safety.”

“Often, people who are known little abroad are nominated for this prestigious prize,” he said. “But in the year 2011 alone, Nyaklyayew won two literature prizes, one in Russia and the other in Sweden. Very good translations of his books have been published in Russia, Poland and Ukraine. He is known as not only a civil society activist but also a talented author.”

“It does not matter how well he will fare in the selection process: whether he will make it on to the Nobel Prize short or long list,” he said. “In any case, there will increased attention to Belarus. It has become a matter of routine for us that Europe knows Belarus only by bad news and one notorious person. We want to show that Belarus has not only this person but also gifted poets, other writers, highly developed culture and good traditions.”

The Nobel Committee has until April to screen all nominations and submit a list for approval by the Academy. After further studies, the Committee will select 15 to 20 names for consideration as preliminary candidates by the Academy. It will whittle down the list to five priority candidates in May.

An author of more than 20 books of poetry and prose, Uladzimir Nyaklyayew was born in Smarhon, Hrodna region, in 1946. Before leaving for Poland in June 1999 after publicly denouncing the Lukashenka regime, he was editor in chief of the literature journal Krynitsa and editor of the weekly Litaratura i Mastatstva, as well as head of the Union of Belarusian Writers. He later moved from Poland to Finland and returned to Belarus only in 2003.

In early 2010, Mr. Nyaklyayew established the “Tell the Truth!” movement, which initially dealt only with social problems.

He challenged Alyaksandr Lukashenka in the December 2010 presidential election and was beaten unconscious by men in black uniform in Minsk half an hour before the closure of the polls on December 19 in an attack widely believed to have been masterminded by Mr. Lukashenka`s secret services. The man spent more than a month in custody after the December 19 post-election street protest in Minsk before being released and placed under house arrest in late January.

On May 20, 2011, a district judge in Minsk sentenced Mr. Nyaklyayew to a suspended two-year prison term with two years` probation, finding him guilty of instigating disturbances in connection with the post-election protest. // BelaPAN

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