The 4th Slovo Russian Literature Festival is well underway in London. Running from March 5 to 26 the festival celebrates Russian literature old and new, along with the links between the two. This is well illustrated by lectures being given on March 15 by contemporary novelist Dmitry Bykov (Living Souls, 2011) on Boris Pasternak and Vladimir Mayakovsky.
The festival guest list is impressive. Besides Bykov, the other recently translated Russian heavyweight novelist, Mikhail Shishkin (Maidenhair, 2012), is also in attendance, as is historian of medieval Russia turned novelist Vladimir Sharov, whose Before and During is due to be published by Dedalus Books in May. With the book weighing in at only 320 pages we might have to classify Sharov a light heavyweight except were it not for the description of the novel on the publisher’s website, which sounds pretty amazing.
You can see a full program (PDF) here.
Read Russia! Anthology
Even if you can’t get to London for contemporary Russian writing than you very likely can click this link to download a PDF containing the unbelievable Read Russia! An Anthology of New Voices. The 445 page anthology contains the work of 30 Russian writers, including the two heavyweights mentioned above, along with many writers that have been reviewed, written about and mentioned in passing in literalab over the last couple years, such as Zakhar Prilepin, Olga Slavnikova and Lyudmila Ulitskaya (That’s not even to mention all writers in it that are waiting to be read and reviewed here.)
Some of the writers represented here have numerous books you can go out and buy, others have nothing other than the work in this anthology, and it’s especially good in including the work of many young women authors that it’s been much easier to read about in a newspaper profile or blog post than to actually read their writing such as Alisa Ganieva and Irina Bogatyreva (both of whom are in my waiting to be read and reviewed category along with legions of other angry, clamoring writers).
Note: Even though it’s a PDF and you’ll probably be reading it on some kind of electronic device and won’t ever look at the cover, for us non-Russian readers who might lose our bearings and forget what we’re reading at certain moments, don’t worry, they have kindly provided us with prominently displayed onion domes to remind us – Ah, yes, Russia . . of course!