by Charlotte Williams Leo Tolstoy's great-great-grandson Vladimir Tolstoy will be among the 49 authors, poets, critics and academics contributing to London Book Fair's Market Focus Cultural Programme this year.
Is Tolstoy Alive? Vladimir Tolstoy in conversation with James Meek Monday 19 April, 6.30pm at Waterstones Piccadilly* Vladimir Tolstoy is the great great grandson of one of the biggest Russian writers – Leo Tolstoy. Since 1994 he has been the director of the Leo Tolstoy museum in Yasnaya Polyana. Vladimir is often seen as the official representative of Leo Tolstoy’s cultural heritage. In 2001 he made a famous appeal to the Russian Orthodox Church, petitioning the repeal of the excommunication of his famous ancestor – a historical event that in Vladimir Tolstoy’s view turned out to have a fatal effect on the whole of Russian society. Under Vladimir Tolstoy’s guidance Yasnaya Polyana has been set up not only as a museum documenting Leo Tolstoy’s life and literary work, but also as a place to keep the spirit of the great writer alive. Writers and intellectuals are regularly invited to take part in seminars and discuss the fundamental questions of life that for the great Russian writer were of such high importance. The museum also runs its own publishing house and offers translation grants to support new translations of Leo Tolstoy’s books. James Meek is a writer, critic and reporter living in London. He is the author of four novels and two collections of short stories. Between 1991 and 1999 he lived in Ukraine and Russia, where his 2005 novel The People's Act of Love was set. In 1994 he visited Vladimir Tolstoy at the ancestral Tolstoy estate in Yasnaya Polyana. His most recent book, We Are Now Beginning Our Descent, was awarded the Prince Maurice Prize. * Tickets to this event are £3, redeemable against purchase of any book. Call Waterstones Piccadilly on 020 7851 2400 to book tickets in advance