the Organizers did their best to bring the ceremony to the usual. It started with the fact that the President of the Literary Academy – the Grand jury determines the winners – Dmitry Bak was joking about meeting “in the center of the Zoom at the fountain” and about the fact that reality is more than fulfilled the desire of the organizers to mark the 15th anniversary of the award as something special. Then, seriously, one of the masterminds award, presidential adviser Vladimir Tolstoy admitted that for 15 years it became clear that “Big book” lives up to its name. Over the years the winners became writers in different disciplines and belief, from bulls to Prilepin, from Granik to Vodolazkin. Evgeny Vodolazkin, a four-time finalist and twice winner, acknowledged in turn that the award was “a literary lift” and reminded prospective finalists that “when you get to the top, be open to all the winds – praise and blasphemy. “The big book” helps not to fall into despair. And so it is not only literary but also moral value.”

Another of last year’s winner of the “Big book”, the current Chairman of the jury of the youth award “Lyceum”, Sergei Shargunov, noted that participation in the awards, like any contest, “that gives me strength and courage.”

Encouraged by this, the Chairman of the expert Council Mikhail Butov said that this year’s short list “was formed by myself, like a leaf on a tree or a flower”, from the usual heated debate of experts. And that this time he is the answer to the age-old question about the trend that shows a short list: it is a trend to “language of brutality” – and not necessarily tied to masculinity. Then read out the list this year is quite long for short: 13 books, 15 authors.

Bloggers read journalists ask questions. And, of course, the most pressing was the question of the festival “Red square”, addressed to the Deputy head of Rospechat Vladimir Grigoriev. “The festival opens in four days – is it not hard?” – directly asked him. “I don’t really understand what is cruelty – surprised that. – 1 June opening of all bookstores. Work, and did not close all the supermarkets. There are strict sanitary requirements, which we fulfill, even if they seem excessive to us”. Official supported finalist this year, Alexander Ilichevsky, reminding about the necessity of vivid impressions after a long forced hibernation.

Another difference of the ceremony – speeches were interspersed not recorded fanfare, and alive (albeit remote) live music. In the beginning Gregory Minister, last year’s winner of the award, and as a professional actor and club artist, prophetic played the famous song about the fact that the sun will rise. Their numbers were Igor Butman and Svetlana SurhanauVA, and the “end credits” Alexey Kortnev has performed the song which he, in his words, written 35 years ago and which still feeds him, and wished all the writers to write something similar. “In Russia, everything can blow, in addition to the literature. This is our main folk brace,” said he.