Gazprom Neft Shelf-backed publication on Russian Arctic fauna wins prestigious nonfiction award

The organizing committee of a most prestigious Russian award for popular scientific literature — Prosvetitel (Enlightener) — awarded the special prize in the Curiosity nomination to marine biologist Alexander Semenov for his book the Magic World of Cold Seas. The author acquaints the reader with the wonderful fauna of the White, Barents, Pechora Seas, northern Pacific and the Seas of Japan and Okhotsk. The book was printed by the Paulsen Publishers in 2016 with the support of Gazprom Neft Shelf.

Semenov said the Magic World of Cold Seas is unique as “Russia is the right country for underwater research. No other country in the world has the same variety of rich seas. Russian-language sources say actually nothing today about grebevniki, salps, siphonophores, ascidium and other animals whose names ring hollow for most people. I believe it is necessary to publish colorful popular scientific books, shoot films and programs about the underwater world. All good nonfiction projects educate a new generation of researchers and people who know and love the nature of their country.”

Prosvetitel.Curiosity prize was established in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Prosvetitel award. Organizing committee co-chair Alexander Gavrilov said the new nomination will attract attention to rare books which for various reasons failed to be shortlisted. “Every year we unfortunately put aside the books addressing a narrow circle of readers as they are very, very and very big, sometimes too beautiful and expensive for us to buy them and send to libraries. It is unfortunate. So, to honor the jubilee we decided to show our love to the books and their authors,” he said.

Semenov’s book became a bestseller in a short spell of time. This year it was translated into the Chinese language and joined top most demanded books in Russian libraries. The special Prosvetitel prize is not the first award of the publication. In September, the Magic World of Cold Seas received an award of the European Creative Union and last year became the choice of Nonfiction exhibition jury.

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