Bratislava, Slovakia – Six Hungarian writers and an art critic/historian received the Posonium Literary and Fine Arts Awards in Bratislava on June 27, 2006. 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 520,000-strong Hungarian historic community in Slovakia. The Fine Arts awards are sponsored by György Mátyásfalvi, Budapest businessman.
Since the establishment of the awards in 2000, a Selection Committee of respected Hungarian writers has chosen the winners in several categories of achievement. The 2006 Grand Prize was awarded to Anikó N. Tóth for Slivers of Light (Fényszilánkok), a novel with a distinctive voice and old photographs depicting the life of a Hungarian family in Slovakia. Lifetime Achievement Awards were given to József Szőke for his work as editor, writer on public issues and bibliographer, and Zoltán Szeberényi for his activities as literary historian, critic and teacher of literature.
The Posonium Fine Arts Lifetime Achievement Award was granted to Klára Kubička Kucsera, an art historian and critic who for decades has played an integral part in the life of outstanding Hungarian visual artists in Slovakia.
Zsuzsa Szunyog received the Best First Book Award with Solace of the Rose (Rózsavigasz), a book of modern poems, while Special Awards were given to Tihamér Lacza for Walk in the Garden (Séta a kertben), in recognition of his writings on the history of science, and to Károly Csáky for Oh, beautiful red dawn (Ó, szép piros hajnal), for documentation of regional history and folk arts. Each prize winner was introduced by a contemporary writer or art critic with a laudation focusing on the merits of the awardee’s work.
Since the inception of the Posonium Awards, a total of 38 Literary and 5 Fine Arts Awards have been granted. The awards are accompanied by monetary prizes ranging from $300 to $1,000 each. Gyula Duba, prominent writer and Chairman of the Selection Committee, commented: “Last year there were 205 Hungarian books published in Slovakia. Interestingly, each year there are more books of non-fiction, literary criticism, scientific and social commentary, while there are fewer works of fiction and poetry.”
The Posonium Awards presentation was held in the ballroom of the Csemadok building in downtown Bratislava, headquarters of the largest Hungarian NGO in Slovakia, and site of a Hungarian bookstore managed by Madách. Among the attendees were Ágnes Bíró, State Secretary, Ministry of Culture; Edith and John Lauer, founders of the Posonium Awards; Zsolt Szekeres, Treasurer of the Hungarian American Coalition; Andrea Lauer Rice, member of the Coalition’s Executive Committee, and Charles Barton Rice; Adam Szesztai, Deputy Chief of Mission from Hungary to Slovakia; Valeria Kormos, writer and journalist of the Hungarian daily, Magyar Nemzet, as well as writers, artists, journalists and representatives of several publishing houses.