A guide to Georgian literary translations (part II)
This is the second of a two-part series highlighting the top authors in Georgian literature.
Lasha Bugadze (1977- Present) Bugadze is a contemporary Georgian writer and publicist whose novels became one this generation’s favorites. Bugadze also writes plays, which are transferred to theatre stages. He is also the recipient of the BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition award for his play The Navigator (2011). He is a four-time winner of Georgia’s prestigious SABA literary award.
Bugadze’s The Literature Express was published in the United States in 2013 and translated into English by Maya Kiasashvili. The book tells the story about writers of various nationalities that travel together. The novel describes the self-absorbed nature of the authors and their inability to communicate with each other.
Aka Morchiladze (1966 - Present) – Morchiladze is one of Georgia’s most popular and recognized authors, and widely known among critics and readers alike. Morchiladze is not just a writer, he also graduated from the history faculty, worked for newspapers as parliament reporter, and hosted his own TV program. He won the highly sought Saba literary award in both 2003 and 2004.
Morchiladze’s most popular and bestselling novel is entitled Journey to Karabakh, which was successfully transferred on to the big screen, and published in the United States in 2013. The translator is Elizabeth Heighway. This novel takes the readers to Karabakh (the contested region in the South Caucasus). It is a story about a group of young people who want to buy drugs. During their travels, the young people became the captives of both the Azerbaijan side and the Armenian side.
Ana Kordzaia-Samadashvili (1968 - Present) – Kordzaia-Samadashvili is a writer, journalist and translator. In 2004 and 2005 she won the SABA award. Her work, which focuses on the emotional relationships between men and women, love and hate, sex and disappointment, are somewhat outré and sarcastic, but it’s these aspects that give them their appeal.
Her collection of short stories named Ich, Margarita was published in the German language in 2013. Kordzaia-Samadashvili tells the readers a diverse range of stories, taking place basically anywhere and at any time.
Tamta Melashvili (1979 - Present) – Melashvili is a writer and a gender specialist. She focuses on the history of Georgian feminism, LGBT identities, as well as masculinity issues. Counting Out is her first novel and tells the story of two girls, who live in a conflict region. The war is makes up the background of two heroines. Literary critics lauded the novel. Counting Out was published in Switzerland in 2012.
Dato Turashvili (1966 – Present) – Turashvili is Georgian writer and teacher. He was an active participant in the student movement in the 1980s. Alongside his novels, he also creates film scripts. His creative work received SABA awards in 2003 and 2004. Turashvili received major acclaim for his short novel entitled Flight from the USSR: Jeans Generation. The novel tells the true story of a group of young and courageous young people, who are burning with the desire to leave Soviet Union. They came up with the idea to hijack an airplane and fly to America. The play created after this book has not lost its popularity. The film named Hostages will come out in theatres in April.
Zaza Burchuladze (1973 - Present) – Burchuladze is a contemporary post-modernist writer and playwright, who published his works under the pseudonym ‘Gregor Zamza’. He was a journalist and worked as a translator. Georgian society viewed many of his novels as scandalous.
Burchuladze’s works have been translated into the French, English, Polish and Russian languages. His novel Inflatable Angel was recognized as the “Best Novel of the Year” in 2011, Ilia State University. He was invited to la Nuit de la Littérateur 2014 in Paris, France.
Jemal Karchkhadze (1936 – 1998) – Karchkhadze was a famous Georgian writer and publicist, and philologist by profession. Karchkhadze’s first published works were very well received by the public, but were met with harsh criticism from Soviet critics of the time. Nevertheless, he continued to write and publish his works. Over his lifetime, he received no awards or public love. Karchkhadze was rediscovered in the new millennium by a new generation, and today his popularity continues to rise.
Karchkhadze’s novel Antonio and David was published in 1983, and since 2013-2014, readers in Sweden and Egypt have been able to get acquainted with this Georgian masterpiece. This novel is set in medieval Georgia, and the narrator is an Italian traveler who visits the country together with a group of European missionaries.