Joanne Turnbull, translator of 7 Stories by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, published by GLAS, Moscow.


Joanne Turnbull's winning translation of these recently discovered literary gems contested with a tremendous and challenging shortlist that reflected both the classics of the Russian literary canon as well as work by contemporary, living authors.

The judges' verdict: "In the face of strong competition, we believe that the prize should go to Joanne Turnbull for the resourcefulness and verve with which she has introduced to English speakers the extraordinarily inventive and linguistically challenging work of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, "a writer-visionary, an unsung genius" (George Shengeli) who died in obscurity in 1950 but since 1989 has begun to be recognised by Russians as one of their great prose writers of the 20th century."


7 Stories

Written between 1922 and 1939, these remarkable stories attest to Krzhizhanovsky's boundless imagination, black humour and breathtaking irony. A man loses his way in the vast black waste of his own small room. A woman's former lovers wind up confined to the recesses of her pupil. The rebellious hand of a famous pianist flees a concert hall in mid-performance. Another man lives to try and bite his own elbow. A bibliophile finds that he has lost his ‘I' in the new Soviet order. A scientist solves the energy crisis by converting human spite. The Eiffel Tower goes mad and drowns itself in Lake Constance...

Elaine Feinstein, writer, literary critic and one of the Rossica Prize judges, says: "What is astonishing is not that he was ‘known for being unknown', but that his genius survived Soviet disapproval to be rediscovered long after his death."  


Special Commendation


The judges of the 2007 Rossica Translation Prize wish to give a Special Commendation to Robert Chandler for his translation of The Railway by Hamid Ismailov (Harvill Secker) in recognition both of the merits of this particular rendition, and of the excellent work that he has done over the years in bringing Russian literature to the English reader.


Chandler was also short-listed for the 2005 Rossica Translation Prize for his translation of Soul by Andrey Platonov, for which he won the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages award for best translation from a Slavonic language.


Short-listed titles 2007:


Hugh Aplin for his translation of The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy (London: Hesperus Press, 2005)

Anthony Briggs for his translation of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

(London: Penguin Books, 2005)

Anne O. Fisher for her translation of Ilf and Petrov's American road trip: The 1935 travelogue of two Soviet writers by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov

(New York: Princeton Architectural Press & Cabinet Books, 2006)

Arch Tait for his translation of Sonechka: a novella and stories by Ludmila Ulitskaya (New York: Schocken Books 2005)


The closing date for submission was 31 December 2006. 29 books were submitted.


The Rossica Prize Diary

17 April 2007 – the Shortlist was officially announced at the London Book Fair.

23 May 2007 – a Reading from the shortlisted texts took place at the London Review Bookshop in Bloomsbury, London.

24 May 2007 – the Rossica Prize was presented in London on the feast day of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, creators of the Slavic alphabet.

The prize was awarded for the winning book at the Moscow Book Fair in June 2007.





Elaine Feinstein was educated at Newham College, Cambridge, and  was  made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1980. She has written fourteen novels, radio plays, television dramas, and five biographies. In 1990 she received a Cholmondeley Award for Poetry, and was given an Honorary D.Litt from the University of Leicester. She has been invited to read her work at international festivals across the world.  She has been a Writer in Residence for the British Council in Singapore, and Tromso, Norway, and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at Bellagio in 1998. Her ‘Collected Poems and Translations’ (2002) was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. Her biography of Anna Akhmatova, ‘Anna of All the Russias’ was published in July 2005.

Catriona Kelly is Professor of Russian at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of New College. She has published widely on Russian literature and cultural history, including Russian Literature: A Very Short Introduction (OUP 2001), and Comrade Pavlik: The Rise and Fall of a Soviet Boy Hero (Granta 2005). She is the editor of Utopias: Russian Modernist Texts, 1905-1940 (Penguin, 1999), and of An Anthology of Russian Women's Writing, 1777-1992 (OUP 1994). Both these collections included works that she had translated herself, and she has published numerous other translations of Russian poetry and prose, by Mayakovsky, Elena Shvarts, Olga Sedakova, Sergei Kaledin and Leonid Borodin, among others.

Peter France is Professor Emeritus of the University of Edinburgh.  He has published widely on French, Russian and Comparative Literature, including Poets of Modern Russia (1982) and is the editor of the Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation and the five-volume Oxford History of Literary Translation in English (2005-).  His translations from Russian include collections of poetry by Aleksandr Blok and Boris Pasternak (both with Jon Stallworthy) and several volumes of the poetry of Gennady Aygi.


We received 29 submissions, which once again demonstrated that there is not only interest in Russia and her literary heritage, but a market for such books in the English-speaking world.

Submitted entries for the Rossica Prize 2007
(new Russian translations published in 2005-06, in no particular order)

A Dog’s Heart by Mikhail Bulgakov, translated by Hugh Aplin, Hesperus Press, 2005, pp. 112

A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov, translated by Hugh Aplin, Hesperus Press, 2006, pp. 176

A Night in the Nabokov Hotel: 20 contemporary poets from Russia. Translated and edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky, Dedalus, 2006, pp. 188

American Road Trip by Il’f and Petrov, translated by Anne O. Fisher, Princeton Architectural Press, 2006 (says 2007 in the book!), pp. 176

Cicada: Selected Poetry and Proze by Tatiana Voltskaia, translated by Emily Lygo, Bloodaxe, 2006, pp. 141

Lyons and Acrobats by Anatoly Naiman, translated by Frank Reeve and Margot Shohl Rosen, Zephyr Press; Bilingual edition, 2005,  pp. 120

My Discovery of America by Vladimir Mayakovsky, translated by Neil Cornwell, Hesperus Press, 2005, pp. 144

Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated by Hugh Aplin, Hesperus Press, 2006, pp. 176

Seven Stories by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, translated by Joanne Turnbull, Glas, 2006, pp. 200

The Complete Plays/Anton Chekhov, trans., ed. and annotated by Laurence Senelick, W.W. Norton & Company, pp. 1060

The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Hugh Aplin, Hesperus Press, 2005, pp. 144

The Driving Bell by Elena Ignatova, translated by Sibelan Forrester, Zephyr Press, 2006, pp. 144

The Five by Vladimir Jabotinsky, translated by Michael R. Katz, Cornell Uni Press, 2005, pp. 200

The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated by Hugh Aplin, Hesperus Press, 2006, pp. 160

The Railway by Hamid Ismailov, translated by Robert Chandler, Harvill Secker, 2006, pp. 224

The Silent Steppe by Mukhamet Shayakhmetov, translated by Jan Butler, Stacey International Publishers, 2006, pp. 250

A Writer at War: A Soviet Journalist with the Red Army, 1941-1945 by V. Grossman, translated by Antony Beevor and Luba
Vinogradova, Harvill Secker, 2006, pp. 400

War and Peace by Lev Tolstoy, translated by Tony Briggs, Penguin Classics, hardback 2005, paperback 2006, pp. 1406

Unforced Labors: The Memoirs of Ada Federolf and Selected Prose of Ariadna Efron, compiled, edited and translated with commentary and introduction by Diane Nemec Ignashev, ‘Vozvrashchenie’, Moscow 2006, pp. 400

Pelagia and the White Bulldog, by Boris Akunin, translated by Andrew Bromfield, Weidenfeldt&Nicholson, 2006, pp. 295

The Death of Achilles, by Boris Akunin, translated by Andrew Bromfield, Weidenfeldt&Nicholson, 2005, pp. 362

Sonechka and other Stories  by Liudmila Ulitskaya, translated by Arch Tait, Schocken Books, 2005, pp. 242

The Uncensored Boris Godunov: The Case for Pushkin’s original comedy with annotated text and translation by Chester Dunning, translated by Antony Wood, University of Wisconsin Press, 2006, pp. 550

Aleksander Pushkin The Gypsies and other narrative poems, edited, compiled and translated by Antony Wood, David R.Godine, 2006, pp. 116

A Russian Prince in the Soviet State by Vladimir Trubetskoi, Northwestern University Press, 2004, pp.200

Ruslan and Lyudmila by Alexander Pushkin, translated by Roger Clarke, Hesperus Poetry, 2005, pp. 214

The Double and The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, Everyman’s Library, 2005, pp. 376

Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov, translated by Stephen Pearl, Bunim & Bannigan, 2006, pp.443

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