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(SOLD OUT) A Talk by George Orwell's biographer Masha Karp



Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty -Four” was once again a bestseller in Russia in 2017, and yet its readers know very little about the author they admire. Masha Karp’s new biography fills this gap. Published at the end of November 2017 by Petersburg publisher  “Vita Nova”, it immediately entered the Top-50 books of the year according to a popular blogger.

Orwell never visited Russia, but he devoted most of his adult life to thinking about the country. He approached it as a social thinker and he found an answer to the main riddle of its 20th century history: how it was that a revolution against autocracy led only to a new autocracy. He did not expound his ideas in a scholarly research paper  – instead, he wrote a fairy story and a novel, because his talent allowed him to imagine every detail of life under totalitarianism with the sensitivity of a lyrical poet.

In Masha Karp’s new biography Orwell is seen through the Russian lens, so some aspects of it will be new to the English readers – Orwell’s perception of socialism and the Soviet Union, his sources of information about the Soviet regime, how “Nineteen Eighty-Four” was perceived in the USSR, why Orwell is so popular in modern Russia. 

A limited number of copies  at a discounted price will be available to buy after the event. 


Masha Karp is a freelance journalist with a special interest in relations between Russia and the West. Her articles have been published by The Independent, Standpoint, The Spectator, Open Democracy, Common Review. Masha was Russian Features editor (1997-2009) and previously a producer (1991-1997) with the BBC Russian Service. She also produced, presented and participated in  Radio 4 and the BBC World Service radio programmes in English. Masha is a translator of English and German poetry and prose into Russian and has published translations of many writers, including Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, Dylan Thomas, W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Jennings, Alice Munro, Andreas Griffius and Nicolaus Lenau, as well as articles on translation. She is a member of the St Petersburg Writers' Union and the Literary Translators Guild in Russia. She is a Committee Member of the Orwell Society and the Editor of its Journal.

In English (with some readings in Russian)

Earlier Event: 27 February
(SOLD OUT) Night in Norilsk
Later Event: 28 February
A Russian Journal Retold