Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

International Panel to Choose OU Neustadt Literature Prize

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

International Panel to Choose OU Neustadt Literature Prize

Article excerpt

An international panel of 12 novelists, dramatists, poets, playwrights and essayists from five continents will convene March 17 through 19 at the Oklahoma Center for Continuing Education on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus to select the 13th laureate of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

This year's recipient of the Neustadt Prize will receive a $40,000 award. The award, which in 1992 was increased by $15,000, is administered by the University of Oklahoma and its international quarterly, World Literature Today. Funding for the award is ensured in perpetuity by an endowment from the Neustadt family of Ardmore.

One indication of the prestige of the Neustadt Prize is its record of 16 laureates, candidates or jurors who in the past 20 years have been awarded Nobel Prizes following their involvement with the Neustadt Prize. The latest instance was in 1993, when African-American novelist and essayist Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature while a candidate for the 1994 Neustadt Prize.

The Neustadt Prize is the only international literary award emanating from the United States for which poets, playwrights and novelists are given equal consideration.

The prize was first awarded in 1970, with Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti as the laureate. Other winners have been novelist and Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia, 1972; poet Francis Ponge, France, 1974; poet Elizabeth Bishop, United States, 1976; poet and also Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz, Poland, 1978; and novelist Josef Skvorecky, Czechoslovakia, 1980.

Other winners have been poet and Nobel laureate Octavio Paz, Mexico, 1982; poet and dramatist Paavo Haavikko, Finland, 1984; novelist and playwright Max Freisch, Switzerland, 1986; novelist Raja Rao of India, 1988; poet Tomas Transtromer, Sweden, 1990; and poet Joao Cabral de Melo Neto, Brazil, 1992.

The 1994 jurors already have nominated candidates prior to the panel's meeting in March. Jurors will make oral presentations on each nominee before balloting begins.

No candidate has been put forth by Djelal Kadir, chairman of the Neustadt committee and editor/director of World Literature Today, but he will cast the deciding vote in case of a tie.

The jurors are: Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor of Ghana. Awoonor, a poet, novelist, dramatist and critic, has served as his country's Permanent Representative and ambassador to the United Nations since 1990. He has been honored with the Columbia University Translation Award, a Rockefeller Fellowship, the Dillon's Commonwealth Award, Brazil's Cruzeiro do Sol, and the Ghana Association of Writers Distinguished Author Award. Zoya Boguslavskaya of Russia. The novelist, playwright and essayist is member of the Russian Writers Union and the Russian PEN Center, and general director of the Triumph Fund, which administers the country's most prestigious and remunerative awards in the arts. Alan Cheuse of the United States. Cheuse, a novelist, essayist and critic, is past director of the Bennington (Vt.) Summer Writing Workshops and has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan, Bennington College, the University of the South and the University of Tennessee.

As a book commentator, he is a regular contributor to National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," and he serves as host and co-producer of NPR's syndicated short-story magazine for radio, "The Sound of Writing." John M. Coetzee of South Africa. Coetzee, a novelist, critic and translator, currently is a professor of general literature at the University of Cape Town. He also is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an honorary fellow of the Modern Language Association and has held visiting positions at the State University of New York in Buffalo, Johns Hopkins University and Harvard. …

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