The Winners of the 3 Quarks Daily 2010 Prize in Arts & Literature

3qd_artsandletters2010TQ Strange Quark Charm logo

Robert Pinsky has picked the three winners:

  1. Top Quark, $1000: Tomasz Rozycki: Scorched Maps
  2. Strange Quark, $300: Amitava Kumar: Postmortem
  3. Charm Quark, $200: Lydia Kiesling: Proust’s Arabesk: The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk

Here is what Professor Pinsky had to say about them:

A splendid batch, not easy to decide, but here are my selections, in order:

Tomasz Rozycki's poem “Scorched Maps” — translated by Mira Rosenthal into real lines of poetry in English. I will remember this poem about memory and Rozycki's commentary (same translator) on it. The image of the past and its losses as “subterranean” is familiar. Re-imagined in “Scorched Maps,” the image regains its emotional force: the seeker face-down and speaking to the earth, and the earth along with the lives it contains responding, “vast and wild around my head.”

Amitava Kumar's short-short story “Postmortem” has also entered my imagination in a way I will not forget. The surface of this story about an atrocity is reportorial, rather than self-righteous or melodramatic. On the other hand, the author does not pretend to be impartial or unmoved: there is judgment in the terse description of the corpse's wounds. Judgment, too, in how the Colonel looks: “calm and extremely clean, the way bullfrogs do.”

Lydia Kiesling's review of Orhan Pamuk's The Museum of Innocence maintains an informal, personal tone along with a high standard of insight. Her fondness for Arabesk music, her evocation of it (“titles like 'God Hates a Lie'”), the fact that some Turkish people laugh at her for liking it: all is carried off compactly, with great flair. The offhand remark about similarities between the Unites States and Turkey (wondering, in her example from Pamuk, what the Europeans think of oneself, or of one's nation), illustrates an active mind with a light touch.

All the entries are really good. I have learned from them. It is encouraging to find artful writing, and ambitious range, in the digital medium.

Congratulations to the winners (please contact me by email, I will send the prize money later today–and remember, you must claim the money within one month from today). And feel free to leave your acceptance speech as a comment here! And thanks to everyone who participated. Thanks also, of course, to Robert Pinsky for doing the final judging.

The three prize logos at the top of this post were designed, respectively, by Carlos, Carla Goller, and Sughra Raza. Our thanks to each of them. I hope the winners will display them with pride on their own blogs!

Details about how the 3QD Arts & Literature prizes work, here.