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Mikhail Shishkin at Pushkin Club


We are delighted to announce that Mikhail Shishkin, one of the greatest contemporary Russian writers, will be speaking to the Pushkin Club on 20th May. Mikhail Shishkin will talk - in English - about literature and politics in contemporary Russia, and will take the audience through his own work and read excerpts from his work in English translation. He will also examine how language can be used or misused, the role of the writer and how literary and political texts work together and interact in today's Russia.

The evening will be introduced by David Brummell, a long-standing member of Pushkin Club and former Trustee of Pushkin House, and there will be time for questions and discussion after the talk.

One of the most acclaimed living authors to come out of Russia, Mikhail Shishkin has won every major Russian literary award as well as a handful of Western prizes. Born in 1961, Shishkin studied at the Moscow State Pedagogical Institute and worked as a teacher before moving to Zurich in 1995. When he is not writing, Shishkin works as an interpreter, interviewing Russian-speaking asylum seekers to Switzerland, whose stories often form the material for his own writing.

Since his highly-praised debut, Calligraphy Lesson, published in 1993, Shishkin has published three novels: The Seizure of Ismael (winner of the 2000 Booker Prize); Maiden Hair (National Bestseller Prize, 2005 and the Russian Big Book Prize, 2006), and The Light and the Dark, which won the Russian Big Book Prize in 2011). His work has been translated into 28 different languages.  

[The Light and the Dark]“reaches over the heads of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky to the tradition of Pushkin” Times Literary Supplement

Shishkin is one of the most gifted writers on the Russian literary scene, even more so because, regardless of the fashion, he has succeeded in developing his own original style and literary conception - Ulrich Schmidt, 'Neue Züricher Zeitung'

The Guardian said of Shishkin’s writing: "Richly textured and innovative. . .  arguably Russia's greatest living novelist"

On The Light and the Dark, The Wall Street Journal wrote: "Shishkin has created a bewitching potion of reality and fantasy, of history and fable, and of lonely need and joyful consolation. An exquisite novel . . . His sovereignty is over the invisible and the timeless. Mr. Shishkin traces this sad story with great beauty and finesse."