WITmonth Q&As: Natasha Perova on Russia

Throughout August, Literalab will be asking writers, translators and publishers to comment on both the women writers from their own language they most appreciate having been translated into English as well as those they would most like to see make the leap.

Natasha Perova is the editor of the Russian publishing house Glas, which specializes in translating up-and-coming Russian writers and overlooked Russian classics from the 20th century.

Can you name one or two women writers that you are particularly grateful that they have been translated from your own language/country into English?

I’m particularly happy to see Irina Muravyova, one of the finest novelists in Russian literature, published in English translation (Thames River Press, 2014). Her Day of the Angel is a broad kaleidoscopic canvas, reminiscent of Doctor Zhivago. Set in Moscow in the 1930s it shows people swept up in a tide of dramatic events largely beyond their control.


My favorite is Olga Slavnikova’s definitive novel 2017 (Overlook Press, 2011), which is set in the Urals and provides a comprehensive and insightful portrait of today’s Russia, predicting a political coup in 2017, exactly a hundred years after the Russian revolution of 1917. The novel is permeated with the rich mythology of the Urals.


I can strongly recommend Alisa Ganieva’s novel Mountain of the Feasts, to be published by Deep Vellum in Spring 2015. The novel is set in modern-day Dagestan and takes the reader on an eye-opening journey through the Northern Caucasus.

Can you name one or two women writers from your own language/country yet to be translated into English that you would especially like to see reaching English-language readers?

Over the past two decades Glas has presented quite a few women authors in our series of New Russian Writing. Some of them attracted the attention of publishers abroad, but many are still waiting to be appreciated. The last four years we have concentrated on young authors. Among them Liza Alexandrova-Zorina is the brightest and the sharpest.


Olga Slavnikova’s novel Light-headed has been translated into English but not yet found a publisher. Anyone wishing to understand the roots of the current evil regime backed by modern-day secret services would be well advised to read this lengthy text by a major Russian author.

And there is the brilliant Margarita Khemlin, a a Russian-Jewish author from Ukraine, who has never been translated into English due to her highly idiomatic language, which is probably untranslatable, or maybe waiting for an equally brilliant translator.

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Categories: Interviews, Translation, Writers


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8 Comments on “WITmonth Q&As: Natasha Perova on Russia”

  1. lizoksbookshelf
    19/08/2014 at 4:57 pm #

    Natasha Perova provides a nice list, thank you for posting this, literalab! I wanted to add a footnote to her mention of Margarita Khemlin, who is one of my favorite writers. Though none of Margarita’s novels have been translated, I’ve translated two of her stories. “Basya Solomonovna’s Third World War” was published in Two Lines (the “Counterfeit” edition, 2011) and then republished in the Read Russia! anthology (PDF download here). “Shady Business” came out in Issue 17 of Subtropics earlier this year.

  2. 19/08/2014 at 5:05 pm #

    Wow, thanks. I’ll add an update with the links. I haven’t read them but will now.

  3. lizoksbookshelf
    20/08/2014 at 4:14 pm #

    You’re welcome! I loved both these stories and hope you enjoy them, too.


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