Saturday, April 01, 2006

End of Pekić's Life and Posthumous Work

In 1990 he was one of the editors of the new opposition newspaper "Demokratija" ("Democracy"), and the same year he became the Vice President of the Democratic Party in Serbia. Pekic was a member of the P. E. N. Association in London and Belgrade, and became Vice President of the Serbian P. E. N. Association between 1990-1992. He was elected to The Serbian Academy of Science and Arts in 1985, and was made a member of the Advisory Committee to The Royal Crown in 1992. Active both as an author and a public figure until his last day, Pekić died of lung cancer in London on July 2, 1992. Posthumously, in 1992 Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjević awarded Pekić the Royal Order of the Two-headed White Eagle, being the highest honour bestowed by a Serbian monarch.

A large body of his work was, and continues to be, published posthumously: Vreme reči (The Time of Words, 1993); Odmor od istorije (A Break from History, 1993); Graditelji (The Builders, 1994); Radjanje Atlantide (The Birth of Atlantis, 1996); Skinuto sa trake (Transferred from Tapes, 1996); U traganju za Zlatnim runom (In Search of the Golden Fleece, 1997); Izabrana pisma iz tudjine (Selected Letters from Abroad, 2000); Političke sveske (Political Notebooks, 2001); Filosofske sveske (Philosophical Notebooks, 2001); Korespondencija kao zivot, 1 & 2 (Correspondence as a Life, 2002-2003).

On the 1st and 2nd of July 2000, the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts, in Belgrad, held a symposium with the theme: ‘Literary Work of Borislav Pekić’ on the Occasion of the ‘70th Anniversary of His Birth’. The essays from that symposium were published in 2003.

The ‘Foundation Borislav Pekić’ has been established in 1993. Its basic goal is to promote the works of Borislav Pekić in Serbia and abroad, but also to help young writers encouraging their literary work. The 'Foundation' appointed juries which consists of eminent literary figures to choose those who are going to obtain the prizes for their literary work.

One type of award has been established for secondary school pupils and is given for the best essay, poem and story written by Belgrade youngsters for that year. After five years a book has been compiled of award winning works and published under the title Pekićeva klupa (Pekić’s Bench, 1999).

The other type of award is a grant given to young writers who are invited to propose their literary projects for consideration by the jury. Two authors are granted equal prizes each year, on the date of Pekić’s death, the 2nd July. The number of young novelists who obtained grants over the years is mounting and they all are now well-established literary figures in Serbia.

The ‘Foundation Borislav Pekić’ has also started a yearly publication called Anali Borislava Pekića. The first issue appeared in 2004, the second - 2005, the third is due in July this year on the date of Pekić's death. In each of them some of Pekić’s work, which has not been published until now, comes out, as well as a number of critical assays in connection with Pekić’s writings. Also in that publication Pekić’s bibliography is constantly updated.

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