Georgian literature


“Three thousand read, one thousand buy” (Bugadze, L.: The Literature Express, London, Dalkey Archive Press, 2012, ISBN 978-1564787262) – we can use one of Bugadze’s quotations in order to capture the tiny Georgian audience. Of course, this situation is not caused by society being uncivilized but rather by its size: with just 4.5 million citizens, Georgia is not a population giant. Therefore, it is quite understandable that writers are motivated to reach larger audiences beyond Georgian borders. This was not a big issue during the existence of Soviet Union. Georgian literature was part of one big cultural area and it was distributed all over the union. Thanks to the Russian language – the main communicative language into which the majority of works were translated – the writings of Georgian authors were available all over the “Eastern Bloc”. However, since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the Georgian book market has become significantly smaller.

Nonetheless, there are many literary magazines in Georgia nowadays which are introducing new translations of foreign literature and new Georgian authors as well. These magazines are usually available online, but unfortunately almost all of them are only published in Georgian. The most interesting of these include Arili (არილი) and Literaturuli Gazeti (ლიტერატურული გაზეთი). A different way to popularize new books is through literary awards. There are many different awards in Georgia presented to the most popular and the most qualitative authors. We can mention some of them here: Saba Literary Award, CERO Award, Vazha-Pshavela Award.