Romanian journalist Liviu G. Stan wins fiction award for his latest novel Salamanders

Romanian journalist and writer Liviu G. Stan has won an award for his latest novel, Salamanders.

He was named the most creative fiction writer in the FICTION awards which were announced at a gala in Constanta on Wednesday.

Vivid imagination

Known for his vivid imigination and sharp prose, Mr Stan delights his readers by conveying a sense of the fantastic both in fiction as well as in everyday situations.

Prize-winning Salamanders, which was published in 2021 during the pandemic, is a novel about organ traffickers, a space ship and a social experiment in Cotroceni, a genteel quarter of the Romanian capital.

The novel features four main characters including a woman who „loses her mind in the longest night of her life” and it is based on four strange happenings .


Writer and university professor Mihai Ene said the novel was like a contemporary version of Gog, a 1931 satirical novel by the Italian writer Giovanni Papini.

„The characters …. develop mindsets which become pathological,  from the brilliant but brutal surgeon to the urbanist who participates in the reconstruction of a fantastic Cotroceni fantastist,” he wrote.

Salamanders is Mr Stan’s fourth work in a literary career which debuted with the novel „Bird Blood on Clothes”, (2014),  followed by “Houses Will Forget” (2016) and “Filip Manakis: A European Story” (2019).

Foreign affairs

The 35-year-old journalist from Braila in eastern Romania, who worked as an editor at until March, has had 13 years of experience in the media,  mainly covering  foreign affairs, including Ukraine, Russia, Syria, China, Iran and Brexit.

Before he joined in 2019, he worked for worked for Digi24, Mediafax, Global Reporter and Adevărul.

He has also contributed to the Cultural Observatory, Horizon, Culture, Tiuk, Europe, Time and Romanian Life.

He currently works for the Romanian public television station, TVR.

Burnt wires

Here is an example of his writing, a text he composed on his way to Constanta to collect his prize, which has been translated into English by  

„A smell of burnt electrical wires wafts through the air conditioning filter.

– Why does it smell like this? a lady asks the ticket inspector,  heart in her mouth.

„Hmm, it’s a malfunction… The train has a direct brake, but you don’t have to be scared.”

Is „direct brake” the equivalent of „the meteor shower that destroyed an engine” in Sci-Fi movies? I wonder to myself, before asking him out loud.

– Ok, we won’t be afraid of the ‘direct brake’ but what about you?

The controller quickly puts me in my place, almost as if he’s quoting as if from Sun Tzu:

– Wouldn’t I be as white as a sheet if I had a carrot up my arse?

Sun Tzu

Here’s the original Romanian.

Un miros de circuite arse vine prin filtrul de aer condiționat.
– De ce miroase așa? îl întreabă pe controlor o doamnă cu inima cât un purice.
– Ei, o defecțiune… Trenul merge cu frâna directă. Dar voi nu trebuie să vă speriați.
„Frâna directă” o fi echivalentul lui „ploaia de meteoriți ne-a distrus un motor” din filmele SF? mă întreb în gând și-l întreb pe gură:
– Ok, noi să nu temem de frâna directă, dar voi?
Controlorul mă pune rapid la punct, citând parcă din Sun Tzu:
– Păi nu eram eu alb ca varu’ dacă aveam morocovu-n cur?
On his train journey ride back to Bucharest, he wrote another piece which you can find here.

Horatiu Malaele

Besides Mr. Stan, veteran Romanian actor Horațiu Mălăele was named the artistic personality of the year and Bogdan Farcas won the prize for the most creative visual artist.


The three-member jury was made up of writer Doina Ruști, Adriana Irimescu, an actress and film producer Andrei Boncea.

The FICTION awards were nominated by the Association for Fiction Creators in conjunction with the „EIGHT reasons”  magazine.

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