By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
December (Azar) is a busy month in Tehran with regards to cultural events. Among many events that took place, here is a report from one ceremony that I attended.
Houshang Golshiri Annual Literary Award, which is given by Golshiri Foundation, took place on December 19, 2003 at the wonderful Niavaran Cultural Center. This prize, that have followed up since its launch about four years ago, is becoming the most distinguished in comparison to other such awards.
One of the most important aspects of this particular literary award is that everything about it is transparent. In the leaflets that is handed over to the guest and members of the public who attend the ceremony, all the books and the process in which the jury chooses them are clearly explained. This year, some 37 books, from those that were printed in the pervious year, were considered in two major categories. These are Novel category and Collection of Short Stories, both for first time writers and those who had works printed before, in total of four categories.
For the first stage of the competition, the books were chosen as follows. A long list of over 60 books was sent to men and women of letter in Iran, along with a questionnaire in which they were asked to mark the books. Furthermore, they were asked if they have read and noted other books that should be included in this list, and they were requested to include them with their mark for the work and return it all to the foundation. Once these forms were received, the books were ranked based on the marks given by the respondents, many of them literary figures. In total 17 books went to the second stage in four categories. Accordingly, the books were divided among the four groups of judges. Three of the judges this year lived outside Iran and two outside Tehran.
During the ceremony first Ms. Farzaneh, head of the Golshiri Foundation, gave a speech in about the activities of the foundation during the pervious year and the way the books were selected. She also thanked the foundation's supporters who had been listed in the pamphlets handed to the audience. Next Mr. Sepanlou, the well-known poet and writer, read the official Judges statement. Then the names of the finalist and their works in the competition were read out. After that, one of the judges in each category came up to the podium and read out the reason for their decision in awarding the particular work; And finally a short passage from the book was read, and at last, the winner's name was announced. Then the author came up and received the award.
And the winners are:
1. Sohaila Beski for her 'Pare-h Kouchak" [Little Piece] & Bahram Moradi for his "Khandeh darr Khaneh Tanhaye" [Laughter in the House of Loneliness] won the prize in the First time writers in Collection of Short Stories
2. Shiva Arastouie for her "Aftabb Mahtabb" [Sunlight & Moonlight] won the prize in the Collection of Short Stories.
3. Fariba Vafie for her book: "Parandeh-ye Mann" [My little Bird]
4. No prize was awarded for the first time Novel Category
 She received her award from Ms. Zoya Pirzad, Winner of last year's award for the best novel
 The award was given to Ms. Zandi, on behalf of Mr. Moradi, who is in Germany, by Ms. Pirzad
 The award was handed over to Ms. Arastouie by Mr. Bahman Farmanara, the great filmmaker, member of the board , and the founder of the Golshiri Foundation.
 The award was handed to Ms. Vafie by Ms. Fardieh Lashahi, the international well-known artist, who has designed the prizes statue for the foundation.
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