Words on Borders (Ord uten Grenser) is a highly regarded Literature Festival in Norway. Their Words on Borders Prize is awarded only to persecuted and / or threatened or exiled female poets or fiction writers. This year the festival takes place September 1 to 3. Many prominent Norwegian, Swedish and international authors have been involved since the festival started. This year, the festival's Freedom prize is awarded Anzhelina Polonskaya.
Mustafa Can wan in the jury and says: “This year, 2016, we would like to give the Words on Borders´ Freedom Prize of $ 5,000 to Anzhelina Polonskaya, since we in the jury find her literary work and struggle for freedom of expression a worthy winner.”
Born in Malakhovska, a small town near Moscow, Anzhelina Polonskaya debuted in 1993 with My Heavenly Torch. This was followed in 1998 by a second volume, entitled Verses, and in 1999 by The Sky in a Private’s Eye. In 2002, another book of poetry, A Voice, was published in Moscow, and in 2004 the English translation of this work was shortlisted for the 2005 Corneliu Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation.
In 2011, the “Oratorio-Requiem” Kursk, whose libretto consists of ten of Polonskaya’s poems from was debuted at the Melbourne Arts Festival. In 2013, Paul Klee’s Boat, a bilingual edition of Polonskaya’s recent poems, was published and shortlisted for the 2014 Best Translated Book Award and for the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.
Polonskaya is also a stark critic of the Russian authorities and society. Returning from Germany in 2015, she and her family received threats because of her artistic contribution to the Oratorio Kursk, about the Russian submarine that sank in 2000, a topic still taboo in Russia. This led to attacks from Russian nationalists.
During a conversation with the Swedish writer and journalist, Mustafa Can, who have read her works extensively, she will speak about her fight for the free word. The conversation talks place.
In 2013, the words on borders prize was awarded Asli Erdogan, former ICORN writer-in-residence in Krakow City of Refuge.
Read also: The Poet against the Machine: A Q&A with Anzhelina Polonskaya