Three giants of modern Russian literature discuss the great historic influences on their own writing, in a rare UK appearance.
Literary critic Pavel Basinskii ’s ‘Lev Tolstoy: Escape from Paradise’, which won the 2010 Big Book Award, unlocks the mystery of the great author’s final flight from his family home to a small, remote railway station where he died. Basinskii also won the Anti-Booker Prize in 1999 for his literary criticism. He has been published in many newspapers and leading literary magazines in Russia including ‘Novy mir', ‘Literaturnaia gazeta’ and ‘Znamia’. Pavel Basinskii is a jury member of Aleksandr Solzhenizyn and Iasnaia Poliana Book Prizes. He is also a culture editor of ‘Rossiiskaia gazeta’.
Journalist, author and poet Dmitrii Bykov is one of Russia’s most colourful, versatile and recognisable public intellectuals. He writes poetry, fiction, biography and criticism and is co-founder of the Citizen Poet Project which showcases his political poetry. His best-known work for English UK audiences is the satirical, dystopian novel ‘Living Souls’ which was described by fellow poet Elaine Feinstein as a ‘Catch-22’ for modern Russia. He has won the prestigious Russian National Bestseller Award twice (in 2006 for his biography of Boris Pasternak; and in 2011 for ‘Ostrumov, or the Sorcerer’s Apprentice’, his novel about Freemasons in 1920s Leningrad) and shortlisted six times. Bykov is creative editor of the newspaper ‘Sobesednik’ and regularly appears on TV and radio. He hosted the radio talk show ‘The City Show with Dmitrii Bykov’ on Siti-FM.
Described as Russia’s Umberto Eco, medieval history expert and novelist Eugene Vodolazkin speaks at Pushkin House about his life and work.
Eugene Vodolazkin’s debut novel, ‘Solovyov and Larionov’, became an immediate success, and was shortlisted for the Andrei Bely Prize (2009) and the Big Book Award (2010).
Vodolazkin’s second novel ‘Laurus’ was shortlisted for the National Bestseller and Big Book Award in 2013. The author Leonid Yuzefovich described ‘Laurus’ as ‘deeply religious, luminous, and life-affirming’. London’s Time Out said: ‘Vodolazkin succeeds in walking a thin line, achieving a fine balance between the ancient and archaic, and the ultra-modern; between the ironic and the tragic.’
Born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1964, Vodolazkin is an expert in medieval history and folklore. He has worked in the department of Old Russian Literature at Pushkin House in St Petersburg since 1990. He has published numerous academic articles and been awarded fellowships for research and lectureship in Germany from Toepfer Foundation and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.