Many congratulationa to Andrei Smirnov, whose latest film has won, amongst others, the Best Film award at this year's Nika Awards in Moscow.
We're delighted to announce the full programme for the SLOVO RUSSIAN LITERATURE FESTIVAL
16 - 20 April, London
Boris Akunin, Zakhar Prilepin, Alexander Kabakov, Olga Slavnikova and Alex Dubas are all coming to London for a series of talks at The Russian Bookshop at Waterstones!
In December 1952, three months before Stalin’s death, the French Communist Party abruptly expelled two of the most distinguished members of its Politburo, André Marty and Charles Tillon. These were exalted veterans of the revolutionary movement in France, having risen to prominence as far back as the 1920s. Both belonged to the party’s founding core but had enjoyed Lenin’s trust even during the Russian Civil War.
‘Life has been good’ were his words during one of the many illnesses that preceded his death, when he was bedridden in Peredelkino and could no longer expect help from any quarter: the ambulance service would not travel outside Moscow and the government and writers’ hospitals would no longer admit him. ‘I’ve done everything I wanted to do.’ ‘If this is dying, then it is nothing to be scared of,’ he said three days before he died, after the latest blood transfusion had briefly renewed his strength.
He was born at a halt with the unexceptional name of Kilometre 715. For all its three digits, the halt was extremely small with neither a cinema, a post office, nor even a school. It consisted of six wooden huts strung along the railway track. On reaching the age of 16, he left, went to St Petersburg, entered the University, and began the study of history.
Having once escaped from the Earth’s gravitational pull, on his return Gagarin naturally found himself back in its power and he felt it just like everyone else. But the unique status that in reality was his for only one and a half hours was miraculously prolonged: in the eyes of virtually the entire population of the planet he remained a body free of the influence of earthly gravity.
Living Souls Dmitry Bykov. Alma Books A highly ironic description of civil war in Russia in the 21st century. The Varangians are pitched against the Khazars; the former represent the Russians, the latter the Jews; both warring sides are in essence alien to Russian soil and show scant concern for the fate of its people. The characters clearly evoke literary caricatures – pointed and biting – of contemporary Russian publicists and political analysts. Dmitry Bykov (born 1967) is not only a novelist but also a poet, television and radio host, columnist, critic and the author of an impressive biography of Boris Pasternak, which earned him the literary jackpot in 2006. Bykov received two of Russia’s most prestigious book awards: the National Bestseller and the Big Book.
Tolstoy's spirit returns to ancient lands: James Meek finds the power that Count Leo Tolstoy still holds over Russia's soul beating strongly in the heart of the novelist's great great grandson - the new director of his old estate, Yasnaya Polyana
by Anton Chekhov
Translated by Rosamund Barlett
Hesperus Press, 2008, pp. 99
A civil servant stands accused of not understanding the rules of punctuation. He begins to go through the correct use of commas and semicolons before arriving at the exclamation mark, which, he realizes, in 40 years of writing, he has never used. From here he develops a bizarre and paranoid fantasy in which everyday objects transform into malevolent exclamation marks.
by Alexander Pushkin
Translated by James E. Falen
Oxford University Press, 2007, pp.2015
'The people are silent' So ends Pushkin's great historical drama Boris Godunov, in which Boris's reign as Tsar witnesses civil strife and intrigue, brutality and misery. Its legacy is an uncertain future for the new Tsar whose inauguration is met with devastating silence by the people.
by Mikhail Bulgakov
Translated by Marian Schwartz
Yale University Press, 2008, pp.310
White Guard, Mikhail Bulgakov’s semi-autobiographical first novel, revolves around a Ukrainian family in their home city of Kiev in 1918. Alexei, Elena, and Nikolka Turbin, adult siblings who have just lost their mother, find themselves plunged into the chaotic civil war that erupted in the wake of World War I and the Russian Revolution.
Award-winning novelist, short story writer and journalist James Meek was born in London in 1962 and grew up in Dundee. We Are Now Beginning Our Descent is his fourth novel. His previous book, The People's Act of Love (2005), won the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, the SAC Book of the Year Award, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and has been translated into more than twenty languages.