A series of nearly forty different Russian literary events brought a huge range of readers, writers, translators, editors and publishers to the UK capital this week.
Russia is internationally renowned for its rich literary heritage with writers such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Chekhov continuing to enthrall lovers of literature across the world. Today’s Russian writers continue this great literary tradition across a range of genres and provide an important platform for open debate. The Market Focus Russia 2013 cultural programme is a celebration of this contemporary literature and will showcase ‘A New Chapter’ in Russian writing and publishing to the world.
Peter Mayer, veteran publisher and former CEO of Penguin Books, outlined the plans for a 125-volume “Russian Library” in English. Peter Kaufman, coordinator of the Read Russia project, said the library would also be “a celebration of the art of translation.” “Without the work of distinguished translators, Russian literature would be unknown to those of us who don’t speak Russian,” he said.
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, famous for their collaborative translations of Tolstoy, Pasternak, Chekhov, Gogol and others flew over from Paris for the fair. They held interactive workshops and talked about “The Enchanted Wanderer,” their new book of stories by Nikolai Leskov, and their plans to create an English version of all Pushkin’s prose.
Anna Gunin, who translated German Sadulaev’s lyrical novel “I am a Chechen,” described her job as “part translator, part scout,” strengthening the “cultural bridge” between writers and readers.
“As literary translators, we can be tuned in to what is going on in Russia culturally and help in that process of discovering texts that are something to get excited about,” she said.