The Russians are Writing! The Russians are Coming!
Guest post by PEN Translation Committee member Ronald Meyer
Book Expo America (BEA) kicks off on June 4th at the Javits Center, and Russia is both this year’s guest of honor and the focus of BEA’s Global Forum. In association with BEA and sponsored by Russiaʼs Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communication, Read Russia 2012 will present a week-long “showcase” of Russian literary and book arts in various locations throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Read Russia 2012 offers opportunities outside BEA to meet and engage with a new generation of Russian literary leaders and newsmakers. More than 50 contemporary Russian writers and publishers will arrive in New York during festival week, among them such writers and journalists as Dmitry Bykov, Sergei Lukyanenko, Vladimir Makanin, Edward Radzinsky, Master Chen, and Mikhail Shishkin. For details, including schedules and author bios, go to the Read Russia 2012 website.
You can read the introduction to the Read Russia Anthology by PEN Translation Committee member Antonina Bouis here. Bouis will moderate the panel on “Russia’s Case for Cultural Secession from the West” on Sunday June 3 at the New York Public Library. PEN member Marian Schwartz, translator of eight of the featured Russian writers, will be taking part. In addition to the launch by Akashic Books of their new anthology, St. Petersburg Noir, for which I also translated two stories, you can catch Schwartz on June 7th at McNally Jackson Bookstore, where she is featured in their Bridge series, along with writer Mikhail Shishkin and Open Letter’s Chad Post.
Prior to Read Russia’s literary showcase, Causa Artium is putting on a Festival of Russian Arts, May 22-June 1. While it is not fair to single out one event from the many offered, I will do so in any case. On Thursday, May 24th, Housing Works Bookstore is hosting “New Russian Realism: Return to the Great Russian Novel.” The participants include four winners of Russia’s Debut Prize, which recognizes the work of young literary talent. The discussion will be moderated by Liesl Schillinger. All events are free.