Pozsony (Bratislava) – The number nine served as a refrain yesterday: on June 9, the Posonium Literary and Fine Art Awards were presented for the ninth time, and honored nine outstanding Hungarian writers including one artist in Slovakia.
The Posonium Literary Awards, a project of the Hungarian American Coalition, were founded by Edith and John Lauer nine years ago for the purpose of giving long-overdue recognition to Hungarian writers and artists for outstanding contributions to the literature, art and cultural heritage of the 526,000-strong historic Hungarian community in Slovakia. The Fine Arts Award is sponsored each year by György Mátyásfalvi, a Budapest businessman. The monetary value of the awards is between 300 and 1,000 Euros.
The June 9th afternoon event, held in the ballroom of the Csemadok building in downtown Bratislava, began with a lovely mini-concert by the Tubaroze Chamber Ensemble, featuring classical music for piano, violin, the classical guitar, and operatic arias. In his opening remarks, Madach Publisher’s President, László Dobos, pointed to the continuing deterioration of the rights and support of the historical Hungarian community in Slovakia. He urged the Hungarian community to solve this long-standing problem by uniting to fight for self-government and thereby gain control of their own resources and future. Edith Lauer, Madach Association President, stressed to the large audience that through sharing special experiences and local color, small countries like Hungary, and even small national communities, such as the Hungarians in Slovakia, can significantly enrich the great body of world literature.
The awards were introduced by excellent laudations that acquainted the audience with the specific contribution of each honoree chosen by the Selection Committee. Three Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented: to István Jakab, for decades of linguistic and language- enrichment studies; to Árpád Tőzsér for his contributions as a poet, translator, literary critic and editor; and to László Zeman for his great contributions to academic linguistic study and to the Hungarian language. The recipient of the Posonium Fine Arts Award was Ferenc Jaksics, for his artistic creativity in several media, including text and children’s book illustrations.
Special Achievement Awards were given to Péter Huncik for his novel, BorderCASE and Attila Mizser, for his collection of poems entitled “The Public.” Attila Simon received the Best First Book Award for a historical study of forced settlements between the two World Wars in Slovakia.
Special Homeland Awards were granted to Lajos Gyüre for his work, “The Sunset of Pettycoats;” and to Zoran Ardamica for his study, “Changing Perspectives in the Hungarian Literature of Slovakia.”
The Posonium Awards ceremony was very well attended and included previous award winners, writers, artists, and representatives of Hungarian publishers. Journalists from DUNA TV, as well as from local Hungarian newspapers and radio stations interviewed the sponsors and participants and provided full coverage of a memorable occasion in the cultural life of Hungarians in Slovakia.