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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Solzhenitsyn Unveils Literary Prize

Nobel prize winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn announced Tuesday the creation of an annual literary prize aimed at reviving the traditions of Russian literature.


The award, made public by his family, represents a challenge to the Russian literary establishment, which has largely shunned the reclusive writer since his return from a 20-year exile in 1994.


The Alexander Solzhenitsyn prize will be worth $25,000 and will be funded entirely from royalties for "Gulag Archipelago," his history of the labor camps in which Lenin and Stalin sent millions to work and die.


Solzhenitsyn was forcibly deported from the Soviet Union after the book's publication abroad in 1974 and decided to donate all earnings from "Gulag Archipelago" to help Soviet political prisoners and their families.


His wife, Natalya, said annual payments from the Alexander Solzhenitsyn Fund had in recent years averaged $500,000. The book has been translated into 30 languages.


A statement said the prize would be awarded to works that helped Russian society understand itself and "made a significant contribution to the development of [Russian] literary traditions."


His wife said there would be no bias in favor of old-fashioned works and the only consideration was that the prize-winning book "should make people think." Both Solzhenitsyn and his wife will be members of the jury.


Solzhenitsyn himself is within 12 months due to bring out a book of recollections of the 20 years he spent in exile, she said. This will be followed by his reflections on what he has seen in Russia since his return.