Youth in Literature: A conversation with Marina Stepnova, Vadim Levental and Alisa Ganieva

As part of London Book Week, join us for a conversation with three writers at the forefront of Russian contemporary literature.

Chaired by Natalia Rubinstein.
Interpreter provided by the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Centre.
This event is organised in association with the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Centre and Read Russia programme.

Alisa Ganieva was listed by the Guardian as one of the most talented and influential young people living in Moscow. She made her debut under the male pseudonym Gulla Khirachev with Salam Dalgat, a story about the North Caucasus. Her first novel, Holiday Mountain, about the possible separation of the Caucasus from Russia and life between Islamism and globalization was shortlisted for the Yasnaya Polyana prize, translated into several languages, and published in Germany, the United States, Spain, and Italy. Ganieva’s novel Bride and Groom was shortlisted for the Russian Booker and will be published in the UK in September 2017.


Vadim Levental’s debut novel Masha Regina was nominated for the Russian Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Big Book award. Levental works as a books editor for Limbus Press in St Petersburg, widely known for its Russian editions of the World's best authors. In 2011, Levental authored the idea of The Literary Matrix series which includes literary essays by contemporary writers about canonical writers and poets included in Russian literature curricula.  This 4-volume project was recognized in mass-media as one of the most successful and most important literary projects in post-communist Russia.


Marina Stepnova is a fiction writer, literary translator, and men’s magazine editor. Her second novel The Women of Lazarus tells, through the lives of three generations of women, the story of a Soviet-era mathematician working on high-level projects in a remote city. It was shortlisted for the Russian Booker and the National Bestseller in 2012. Stepnova works as a scriptwriter and contributes to a number of national newspapers. Her translation from Romanian of the play Nameless Star by Mihail Sebastian has been staged by numerous theaters throughout Russia.

Natalia Rubinstein is a freelance journalist and literary critic. She was born in Leningrad and got her degree there. She then taught Russian language and literature and worked in Pushkin’s memorial museum at the Moika embankment, 12. After she left the Soviet Union (1974) she was editor of and contributor to numerous émigré publications in Israel, France, Germany, UK. She has been a BBC Russian Service producer for over 20 years.