New York City to Celebrate Russian Literature at Citywide Festival This May
At a time of heightening tensions between the United States and Russia, a weeklong literary festival will seek to increase understanding across cultures with a citywide series of panels, screenings, and in-person conversations featuring some of Russia's most acclaimed new authors, famed translators of Russian fiction, and several of the world's leading Russian literature scholars and literary critics.
With most events free and open to the public, Russian Literature Week 2017 will take place May 1-6 in literary venues across New York City including Book Culture, the Strand Bookstore, New York University, Columbia University, the Grolier Club, and the Russian Samovar restaurant.
The literature and translation festival is presented by Read Russia, established in 2012 to celebrate Russian literature and Russian book culture. In addition to Russian Literature Week, Read Russia sponsors The Russian Library, a series of 100 works of modern and classic Russian literature that will be published in English by Columbia University Press over the next ten years, and the Read Russia Prize, a $10,000 award honoring the best translations of Russian literature. Read Russia is based in New York, London, and Moscow.
Highlights of this year's festival include a conversation on gender and power in Russian literature; events celebrating the launch of the Russian Library and the 2017 Read Russia Prize; and an online film series featuring films based on and inspired by Russian literature, including Finding Babel, a 2016 documentary about famed writer Isaac Babel (Red Cavalry), a filmed theatrical production of the classic Alexander Pushkin poem Eugene Onegin, and more.
The art behind and controversy around translating Russian fiction will be the focus of the festival's events. Participants will include several past winners of the Read Russia Prize, including Times of London Literary Supplement editor and Oxford professor Oliver Ready (Crime and Punishment, Penguin UK), translator Marian Schwartz (Anna Karenina, Yale University Press), and translator Lisa Hayden (Laurus, Oneworld Publications).
The festival will also provide a rare opportunity for New York readers to meet celebrated new Russian voices like Andrei Gelasimov (Into the Thickening Fog, 2017), Maya Kucherskaya (The Rain God, 2007), and Vadim Levental (Masha Regina, 2012), who will participate in two discussions centered on The Russian Literary Matrix, a four-volume work Levental edited featuring contemporary Russian writers exploring the importance of the Russian literary classics.
"Literature is a powerful way to understand a country, its culture, and the mindset of its people," said Peter B. Kaufman, executive director of Read Russia. "Russian Literature Week is a timely and unique opportunity for New York audiences to engage with Russia's rich literary culture and heritage, to discover new voices, and to debate and exchange ideas."
Most events during Russian Literature Week are free and open to the public. Several events require advance registration; some are by invitation only.
For the most up-to-date information on Russian Literature Week, including profiles of the visiting authors, and for more about Read Russia's programs, visit: www.readrussia.org.