Bratislava-Pozsony – For the first time since its founding, there were nine recipients of the Posonium Literary and Fine Arts Awards in Bratislava on June 6, 2007. The Posonium Awards, a project of the Hungarian American Coalition, were founded by Edith and John Lauer 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 530,000-strong historic Hungarian community in Slovakia. The Fine Arts Awards are sponsored by György Matyasfalvi, a Budapest businessman. Since 2000, a total of 45 Literary, 6 Fine Arts and 2 Native Land Awards have been presented.
A Selection Committee composed of prominent Hungarian writers chooses the winners in several categories of achievement. The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to László Koncsol, for his many outstanding books of literary criticism, poetry and local history. The 2007 Grand Prize for the best original work published in 2006 was awarded to Gyula Duba for his novel,The Bent-Down Branch of Life (Az élet lehajló ága). The recipient of the Posonium Fine Arts Lifetime Achievement Award was granted for the first time to an artist of photography,Gyula Tóthpál.
Árpád Popély received the Best First Book Award for his work, The Historical Chronology of Hungarians in Czechoslovakia, 1944-1992. Zoltán Szalay’s first novel, entitled Innocence, was also recognized with the Best First Book Award. Special Achievement Awards were given to three young writers: Gergely Vida, for his book of poems, Rococo Karaoke; György Hogya for his novella, To See God; and József Juhász for a volume of visual poetry, Are You in the Picture? The Selection Committee also honored András Takács with the unusual Native Land Award for his lifelong contribution to the fields of Hungarian ethnography, academic writing and choreography.
Each prize winner was introduced by a contemporary writer or art critic with a laudation that evaluated the merits of the awardee’s work. The awards are accompanied by monetary prizes ranging from $300 to $1,000 each.
In his opening remarks, László Dobos, President of Madach Publisher, stressed the need for new political approaches by the historic Hungarian community of Slovakia in a newly integrated Europe. Edith Lauer brought up the example of a similar literary prize in the United States that recognized writers worldwide whose works reflect multicultural diversity.
In attendance at the Posonium Awards were Pál Csáky, President of the Hungarian Coalition Party, Edith and John Lauer, Max Teleki, President of the Hungarian American Coalition and his father, Stephen Teleki, Stefan Fodor and his family, György Mátyásfalvi, János and Zsuzsa Mátyásfalvi, as well as many previous Posonium Award winner, writers, artists, journalists and representatives of several publishing houses.