Sunday, 30 June 2013

Michael Althen Prize for Criticism

Here is a thing I think is wonderful: a prize for criticism not divorced from emotion, awarded by the otherwise often po-faced FAZ: the Michael Althen Prize (named for the newspaper's former film critic). Claudius Seidl writes:
It's not solely about film criticism. But it is about criticism that doesn't necessarily want to be right, about criticism that doesn't keep personal feelings off its back with watertight phrasing, about criticism that thrives on the awareness that analytical acuity and genuine emotion are not mutually exclusive.
I love that description; it's what I want from criticism. And the entry conditions:
Anyone can apply who has published a piece of criticism between 15 August 2012 and 15 August 2013 (or who considers a piece of criticism published in this period worthy of the award and would like to submit it) – whereby we hope you understand we find it easier to judge the quality of texts written in German.
I don't know quite what that means - I don't know how they define publication or whether they're just being polite about non-German-language writing. The judges are film people and the writer Daniel Kehlmann. Last year's inaugural award went to Sarah Khan; you can read her story "Séance with the Stasi" in Jane Yager's translation at Asymptote. The award-winning text about the TV series House was published in Cargo magazine.

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