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The first International Literary Award KONS was awarded on 2nd April 2011 in Pavel house (Pavlova hiša / Pavelhaus) in Potrna / Laafeld, Austria. The prizewinner for year 2011 is a poet, writer, essayist, painter, translator and a man-traveler active in many fields, IZTOK OSOJNIK.

The International Literary Award KONS is dedicated to the memory of an exceptional, socially sensitive and humane poet and intellectual Srečko Kosovel (1904-1926), from Tomaj in the Karst region of Slovenia. The name of the award represents a fil rouge through a cycle of Kosovel’s poems entitled KONSI (coined from: constructive spirit / ghost, Constructivism, constructs). The prize is not awarded solely for an original literary opus, but for an all-round active social engagement of individuals and their contribution to the general well-being of mankind, including their active engagement in efforts to improve social and general conditions for artistic and work endeavours, and in creating an inspirational working environment for individual artists. On one hand, awarding the International Literary Award KONS to such committed artists with impressive creative and human ethos represents, in the modest segment which we are able to cover, an acknowledgement of literature’s crucial transformative and subversive power to gradually modify reality. On the other, it is an attempt in restoring literature’s sovereign, autonomous and dignified role in society. “One needs to remain active,” says Kosovel. “Active: in thought, feeling, regeneration, work, etc., the spirit must remain restless. [...] Even errors lead towards the truth if it was true.” (Kosovel, “Path through Solitude”)

As numerous other important awards for lifetime achievement and bearing (Prix Femina, Griffin Poetry Prize, Shelley Memorial Award, and even the Nobel Prize) The International Literary Award KONS was founded through private initiative of the three literary artists, Taja Kramberger, Barbara Korun and Tatjana Jamnik, who are also permanent members of the KONS Award Commission. The award is supported by individuals and organizations from Slovenia and abroad. In their selection, the Commission relies on the opinions of qualified national and international experts. Naturally, the final decision rests in the hands of the Commission members. The prize is awarded in various places around the world where literary events are organised. The First Prize was awarded on 2nd April 2011 in Pavel house / Pavelhaus in Potrna, Austria.

Iztok Osojnik (born 1951) is not only a literary artist who has been devoted, throughout his life, to opening spaces for literary activity, not only for himself but for other writers, frequently even other artistically talented or inspired individuals regardless of age, vision du monde and gender. Mr. Osojnik appreciates and supports literary artists and creators for their achievements, regardless of fashion or administrative instructions. He is not only a man of extraordinary vitality and courage who attempted to update and expand the Vilenica International Literature Festival, only to be stopped by the dark forces of the local literary elite. He did not burn any bridges however, but merely filtered out the acrimony, which is entirely in the spirit of Kosovel’s verse: “No man respectful of freedom will limit it.” (Kosovel, “ABC”)

He not only radiates endless energy that due to its abundance inundates his audiences, but is also a person capable of reflection of his actions and recognises his own shortcomings. He is not a translator waiting patiently for others to notice his work – he is well aware that people seldom notice what one does. While some people are clueless as to what to make of him, he is busy organising new meetings, opening new perspectives, translating new lessons in life and sharing them with others. His defiant, sweeping life stance, together with his extensive oeuvre, organizational efforts and sincere openness to fundamentally different voices in literature deserve the highest recognition.

Iztok Osojnik is never limited to ONLY, but always ALSO, which means an open nook for new insights and original voices. That is his most precious, invaluable quality. For all this, we are awarding him, with sincerity and with the greatest of pleasure, the 2011 International Literary Award KONS for lifetime achievement and bearing in the literary field.

From the presentation speech of the International Literary Award KONS 2011
Commission members, March 2011