Roman Rozina’s Hundred Years of Blindness declared best novel of the year

Ljubljana – The winner of the 32nd Kresnik Prize for best novel of the year, given out by the publisher Delo, is Roman Rozina. He convinced the jury with his historical novel Sto Let Slepote (Hundred Years of Blindness), portraying the Knap family and the rise and fall of mining in the 20th century.

The main character in the novel is a blind man Matija, who is born just as his family house is starting to sink because of mining and the apocalyptic threat hangs in the air.

According to the publisher Mladinska Knjiga, it is a “historical fresco of the 20th century”, a monumental novel that intertwines numerous events from actual history into the broad saga of the Knap family.

The jury said the novel boasted extremely rich and detailed language. “The novel is an insightful portrayal of a time that no longer exists and an environment that is still here, with many reminders that will be preserved – not least because Roman Rozina knows how to see them,” the jury said.

“Few people can describe a long century in a single book in a Romanesque way. It is even rarer in Slovenian literature for the turbulent 20th century to be described with such filigree as the writer Roman Rozina has displayed in his 550-page novel Hundred Years of Blindness,” it added.

Rozina accepted the award, which comes with a EUR 7,000 cash prize, on Rožnik Hill tonight. He thanked the people and events that contributed to his book and especially readers, as they give meaning to writing.

The other four nominees were Davorin Lenko with his novel Triger, Andrej E. Skubic with Krasni Dnevi (Wonderful Days), Dušan Šarotar with Zvezdna Karta (Star Map) and Marjan Žiberna with Dedič (Heir).

Rozina said he had not seen this as a competition but as an opportunity to socialise and celebrate the holiday of the Slovenian novel.

Delo this year introduced an award for young authors and another for young literary critics in what is a culmination of the Young Pen two-year project.

Sixteen up-and-coming authors have been included in the project with 16 critics assessing their works. The EUR 1,000 Young Pen prize was conferred on poet, writer and translator Tanja Božič and the winning critic is Sašo Puljarević, who will get the opportunity to publish reviews in Delo for a year.

Last year’s Kresnik went to Borut Kraševec, who is mostly known as translator, for his debut novel Agni, part love drama, part crime fiction that fuses various voices.