• Home

The Closing of the Russian Mind? A Conversation on Expression and Creativity in Putin’s Russia

Purchase tickets here or by phone at 646-505-5708.

Watch the event LIVE here.
Join the conversation and ask us questions using the hashtag #RussianWrites.
Join JCC Manhattan and PEN to discuss the experience of creative intellectuals in modern Russia with Masha Gessen in conversation with four of today’s noted Russian literary figures. This is a rare opportunity to hear how the Russian government is using media, literature, and other forms of creative expression to control the narrative of the past and present.

More information on other events the delegation will take part in here


Ludmila Ulitskaya is an internationally acclaimed modern Russian novelist and short-story writer whose works explore morality and intellectualism, loyalty, feminism, and religious tolerance in the former Soviet Union. She has been awarded the Russian Booker Prize and the Simone de Beauvoir Prize, among many honors. Trained as a scientist, she made her first appearance on the literary stage in 1990. Her first novella, Sonechka (1992) was nominated for the Russian Booker Prize. She has since published seven novels and numerous short-story collections, children’s books, and plays. Her newest novel, The Big Green Tent, was released in English in November 2015 (Farrar, Staurss and Giroux). Ulitskaya has emerged among the leading critical voices in Russia, stepping in to help coordinate the fragmented anti-Putin protests of 2011-2012. She resigned as a vice president of PEN Russia in 2015 after a struggle over allowing dissent to be voiced about the invasion of Ukraine.
Maria Stepanova is a poet, critic, and independent journalist. She is the author of 10 poetry collections and a book of essays, and winner of the 2005 Andrei Bely Prize. Her poems in English translation appear in the anthology Relocations. She founded the influential online cultural journal OpenSpace.ru, now reconfigured as the crowdfunded platform Colta.ru.
Anna Nemzer is a young Russian novelist with an expanding following. She was a finalist for the Belkin prize and is also an editor at TVRain (Dozhd), which struggles to continue as an independent TV station. She is one of the authors of the Museum of the 90s project, which examines a brief period of freedom in Russia filled with political and social transformations. 
Ilya Danishevsky is a publisher as well as a writer and poet. He is the chief editor at the Vremena, an imprint of the Eksmo/AST publishing house, and focuses on authors who challenge the official discourse. He has developed a network of critical writers and provided them with a public platform to express their views. His novel Tenderness for the Dead was published in 2014.

Get the Free Speech News You Need

protesters in face masks carrying old Belarusian national flags

PEN America has a new weekly newsletter, PEN Points, bringing you a digest of the biggest free expression news of the week, plus the analysis and insights you trust from PEN America experts.