Award-winning Russian author Mikhail Shishkin will join the HWS community for a talk titled, “In a Boat Scratched on the Wall: Language and Politics in Russia,” followed by a short reading from his novel “Maidenhair” and a discussion. The event will take place from 7-9 p.m. on Monday, April 15, in the Hirshson Ballroom.
Shiskin, an outspoken and compelling author, will talk about contemporary Russian society politics, an area in which he has much experience. He recently outraged the Russian government when he refused to participate in a Russian delegation to the prestigious BookExpo America 2013 in New York. In an open letter to the Russian Press Ministry, he declined their invitation citing Russia as “a country where power has been seized by a corrupt criminal regime, where the state is a pyramid of thieves . . .” His letter was quoted and discussed in every major publication, including The New York Times.
As of today, Shishkin is considered among the most prominent and famous Russian writers of contemporary Russia. In addition to winning Le prix du meilleur livre étranger (2005), he has won the Russian Booker Prize (2000); following its publication in Russia in 2005, “Maidenhair” was awarded both the National Bestseller Prize and the Big Book prize, and in 2011 it was awarded the Preis des Hauses der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. His latest novel, “Letter-Book,” won the Russian Big Book prize in 2011. His novels have been translated into 25 languages.
Shiskin has worked as a school teacher and a journalist. In 1995, he moved to Switzerland, where he worked as a Russian and German translator for asylum seekers. He now splits his time between Moscow and Zurich.
The talk is sponsored by Russian area studies, writing and rhetoric, the English department, and the office of the provost.