Prized named after Frantsishak Aliakhnovich awarded to Bialiatski, Dashkevich, Fiaduta, Khalip Peker and Seviarynets
The founders of the prize, Radio “Liberty” and the Belarusian PEN Center, decided that these year's nominees were equal and therefore there could not be one winner.
Therefore, the prize was given to six authors who wrote book in custody, at once: Ales Bialiatski, Zmitser Dashkevich, Aliaksandr Fiaduta, Iryna Khalip, Feliks Peker and Pavel Seviarynets.
Before the ceremony of awarding the director of the Belarusian service of Radio Liberty Aliaksandr Lukashuk noted that on 10 December, Human Rights Day, prisoners of Soviet camps kept hunger-strikes, and nowadays Nobel prizes are awarded in the world, and human rights prizes are awarded in Belarus on this day.
“A man who was put in in prison and managed to write about it is a winner. Thanks to all the winners,” added Mr. Lukashuk.
Human rights activist Ales Bialiatski was awarded for a book of essays about human rights activities, “Quick Silver of Life”, written in Babruisk colony in 2012-2013.
Co-chair of the Young Front Zmitser Dashkevich was awarded for a book of novels “Worm”, published in January 2014 in Vilnius.
Aliaksandr Fiaduta was awarded for his novel "My Little Paris". The author declares this book as the first part of a trilogy about himself. The book was almost entirely written by him in the winter of 2011 in the KGB jail order "not to go crazy”.
Iryna Khalip's book "Prisoner's Diary", which was nominated for the prize last year as a manuscript, was published in 2014 both in Belarusian and Russian. Thus, it was nominated for this year's context and appeared among the winners.
A former head of a winery, Feliks Peker, was awarded for the book “Ten years and one day of Ihar Sauchanka”. Mr. Peker was arrested in 2006 on request of the Belarusian KGB and imprisoned for four years on unjust accusations.
Feliks Peker sad that he had written the book to “preserve the capacity for intellectual activity, and didn't pursue any particular goals". However, the bookwas published in Russian in 2012, and is sold in bookstores Belarus.
"If you are kept in prison, the only thing you have to do is not to lose your face. And writing is the only creative activity in prison. That's what I was doing, hiding my manuscripts,” added Feliks Peker.
Co-Chair of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Pavel Seviarynets participated in the competition with the book "Belarusian Depth", which was released in May, in the series "Writer's Bookstore". The book includes essays written during his last term of personal restraint. The honorary diploma was received by his wife Volha, and Pavel expressed his gratitude through Skype from Czech:
"I am in Prague now, where the word, and not the bullet, defeated the regime. I hope that freedom will also win in Belarus, as it was in the Czech Republic."
During the event, a former political prisoner Vasil Parfiankou read a poem he had written in prison.
Source: Radio "Liberty"