PRAGUE -- Dzmitry Bartosik, a reporter from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Belarus Service (Radio Svaboda) has been awarded the 2017 Jerzy Giedroyc Literature Prize for the year’s best non-fiction book in the Belarusian language. The award was presented during a ceremony in Minsk on 31 October.
The winning book, “And the Master Had a Talking Bird” (Быў у пана верабейка гаварушчы), relates the history of 20th century Belarus through the oral histories of the people Bartosik met while authoring, for the past ten years, the Belarus Service’s Liberty Travels series of weekly travelogues.
Bartosik is the first Belarus Service journalist to receive the Giedroyc Prize, which comes with a 5,000 euro stipend, and the book is the first of those published as part of the Service’s long-running Liberty Library project to be so honored.
Said Belarus Service Director Alexander Lukashuk, “RFE/RL authors have been nominated for the Giedroyc Prize every year since its inception in 2012… The Giedroyc Prize testifies to the quality of our journalism and to the power of non-fiction in the so called ‘post-fact’ era.”
Lukashuk also praised Bartosik, who has visited more than 500 Belarusian towns and villages for his show, for possessing "the talent, patience and stamina that make his heroes open up and share things about their lives they haven't told even their children. His stories make readers laugh, cry, but most importantly they make them think.”
The Jerzy Giedroyc Award was created in 2012 by the Embassy of Poland in Belarus, Polish Institute in Minsk, Belarusian PEN Centre and the Union of Belarusian Writers to honor the memory of Minsk-born Polish writer and activist Jerzy Giedroyc (1906-2000), to promote cultural cooperation between Poland and Belarus, and to support modern Belarusian writers and their international recognition.