27 October 2009, Tuesday, 16:51
author: Eugene Rakhimkulov
The Forum of young writers from Russia and the CIS countries finished its work in Moscow-area Lipki. The Fund of Socio-Economic and Intellectual Programs (The SEIP Fund) and the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications hold this event annually for nine years in succession.
Further to the competitive selections, young writers and critics of Bashkortostan more than once became participants of the forum. Igor Saveliev, Iskander Shakirov, Julia Lomova, Kristina Abramicheva are among them. This year the author of this note happened to represent our republic.
The forum was organized in 2001 within the framework of the complex program of the SEIP Fund named "Young writers of Russia". It was intended for the search and support of talented young people in the regions and equalization of opportunities for the authors from the federal centre and the depths of the country.
The first and subsequent forums yielded favourable results. Many new names were discovered for nine years, works of more than 100 young authors were published in central literary magazines, 14 books, 7 collections "Young writers", and 6 literary miscellanies "Prolog" came out in Vagrius Publishing House in the series "Young literature of Russia". As a result of the forums many young writers gained grants for publishing their books and were given prestigious awards.
The boundaries of the forum, which was initially meant for young Russian writers, were gradually expanding. Writers not only from Russia, but also from the CIS countries and from far abroad come to Lipki now. The only criterion for selection of the participants remains the level of works; both nationality and citizenship make no difference at all. Thus, the forum has every reason to be considered international.
This time young writers from 65 Russian regions and 14 foreign countries such as Germany, Poland, Moldavia, Czeck Republic, Finland, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Georgia and so on gathered in Lipki.
Participation in the forum is prestigious and shows great promise. The selection is rather serious, not everyone can participate in it. For example, this year only one author represented Bashkortostan, and many regions were not represented at all.
The welcoming speech of Dmitry Medvedev, the President of the Russian Federation, master classes of famous writers and editors-in-chief of such literary magazines as Novyi Mir, Znamya, Voprosy Literatury, Druzba Narodov and others, lectures of famous politicians, scientists, sociologists, evenings with bards and poets…All these was very interesting and undoubtedly useful.
However, the idea itself of teaching at the forum is rather strange. Young authors are supposed to accumulate experience and knowledge under the authority of skilled writers. But is it possible to teach a person to write?
Writing is not a profession; it is rather vocation, a moral category. It is impossible to teach someone to write as, for example, to drive a car. You are a writer, or you are not. The elder colleagues can only give general advice to an author, which he can follow or ignore.
In this respect, the question about what "young writer" per se is seems to be rightful. Some inferiority is implied in the definition itself. "Young" means a beginner, inexperienced and immature. However, most participant of the forum can not be called beginners as the age threshold of 35 established by organizers presupposes participation of quite mature authors in all the senses of this word.
The large-scale involvement in the project "Young writers of Russia" also seems bewildering. Although the selection is strict enough, the participants of the forum numbered 160 in all. Besides, there are endless hundreds of those left out in the results of the jury's work. This craze for literature is, of course, praiseworthy, but it is clear that no more than two or three names out of hundreds of these authors will go down in history. Most probably, they need neither teaching nor advice. Perhaps, the most useful aspect of such forums is communication with such outstanding personalities as Vladimir Makanin, Eduard Uspensky, Alexander Gorodnitsky , producers Karen Shakhnazarov and Pavel Bardin, the deputy head of the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications Vladimir Grigoriev, politicians, psychologists, editors-in-chief of literary magazines, poets — it is impossible to mention all names. To listen to these people is already interesting.
The idea of bringing up new Bulgakovs and Doctoevskys in Lipki is surely unreal. The most important thing such forums provide is favourable cultural environment which will be useful for young authors, especially for those living not in capital cities, but in the backwoods of the country.