Andrei Bely (born Boris Bugaev) was a Russian novelist, poet, theorist, communist, and literary critic. His novel Petersburg was considered by Vladimir Nabokov as one of the four greatest novels of the 20th century. Born into a prominent intellectual family, Bely was a polymath whose interests included mathematics, biology, chemistry, music, philosophy, and literature. As a young man, Bely was strongly influenced by his acquaintance with the family of philosopher Vladimir Solovyov, especially Vladimir’s younger brother Mikhail, described in his long autobiographical poem The First Encounter. It was Mikhail Solovyov who gave Bugaev his pseudonym Andrei Bely. Bely’s symbolist novel Petersburg is generally considered to be his masterpiece. The book employs a striking prose method in which sounds often evoke colors. The novel is set in the somewhat hysterical atmosphere of turn-of-the-century Petersburg and the Russian Revolution of 1905. In his later years Bely was influenced by Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy and became a personal friend of Steiner’s. He supported the Bolshevik rise to power and later dedicated his efforts to Soviet culture, serving on the Organizational Committee of the Union of Soviet Writers. He died, aged 53, in Moscow.
Vladimir Sorokin is a Russian writer. He was born in 1955 in Bykovo, a small town near Moscow. Sorokin’s books have sparked heated debates in the media, conflicts and even lawsuits. Among his famous books: Orchard, One Day in the Life of an Oprichnik, The Ice Trilogy, and Blue Lard. Sorokin is also involved in cinema and music projects. At the request of the Bolshoi Theater, he wrote the libretto for the opera Rosenthal’s Children for Music by Leonid Desyatnikov. In 2001, Vladimir Sorokin won the Andrey Beliy Prize for his contribution to Russian literature. He also won the American Liberty Award (2005) and the Maxim Gorky Prize for the novel “Ice” (2010). In 2010, the story “Snowstorm” received the new literature prize and in 2011, won the book prize for the same story. Vladimir Sorokin’s books have been translated into twenty languages. He is married and has twin daughters.
Teffi (1872–1952) was the pen name of Nadezhda Lokhvitskaya, a Russian artist who wrote poems, plays, stories, satires and feuilletons, and was renowned for her wit and powers of observation. She was born in St. Petersburg into a distinguished family that treasured literature. She and her three sisters all became writers. Teffi wrote in a variety of styles and genres: political feuilletons published in a Bolshevik newspaper during her brief period of radical fervor after the 1905 Revolution; Symbolist poems that she declaimed or sang in Petersburg literary salons; popular one-act plays, mostly humorous or satirical—one was entitled The Woman Question; and a novel titled simply Adventure Novel. Her finest works are her short stories and Memories, a witty, tragic, and deeply perceptive account of her last journey across Russia and what is now Ukraine, before going by boat to Istanbul in the summer of 1919. She settled in Paris, where she became a leading figure in the émigré literary scene. Teffi was widely read; her admirers included not only such writers as Bunin, Bulgakov, and Zoshchenko, but also both Lenin and the last tsar. In pre-Revolutionary Russia, candies and perfumes were named after her; after the Revolution, her stories were published and her plays performed throughout the Russian diaspora. She died in Paris.
Marina Tsvetayeva was born in Moscow in 1892, she was the daughter of a pianist and a museum curator. After a relatively secure and comfortable childhood, she published her first poems in 1910. In 1911 she married fellow poet Sergei Efron. They had two daughters before the Russian revolution broke out, and it was at that time she began to experience the turmoil and brutality of early twentieth-century Russia. During the years of famine that ensued, she was forced to place her daughters in a State orphanage, where one of them died of malnutrition. Tsvetaeva later followed her husband to Czechoslovakia, where they lived in exile until Efron’s return to Russia in 1937. Efron subsequently was arrested and died in a labor camp. Tsvetaeva returned to Russia with their son in 1939 but was driven to despair by the difficulty of finding food for the both of them, and, in 1941, she hanged herself. Along with Pasternak, Mandelstam, and Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva stands as one of the four great Russian poets of this century and is one of the most important woman writers in the Western canon.
Anna Likhtikman (1969) is an Israeli writer born in Ukraine. She studied in an art school for the arts in Ukraine, and in 1990 she immigrated to Israel with her family. Likhtikman is a graduate of Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Since 2012 she writes for Russian-language websites such as Booknik, Jewish.ru and Ototo. Her stories were published in the Max Frei’s anthologies, as well as in several Russian magazines. Her short story collection “Ant plays” was published in 2015. Her debut novel The Train writes to the Steamer was published in 2017 and won Manuscript of The Year in Russia. Anna works as an illustrator and lives in Jerusalem.
Tasha Karluka is a writer, journalist and screenwriter, born at Kiev. She holds a Master’s degree in Psychology and is the screenwriter of the movie “Felix and His Love”. Her stories have been published in the anthologies All About Eve (2012) and Childhood: 45-53: The Happiness would be Tomorrow, edited by Ludmila Ulitskaya, (2013). Nowadays Tasha lives in Tel Aviv and works as a cook at “Montefiore” restaurant.
Alexander Stepanovich Grinevsky – better known by the pen name Alexander Grin (1880-1932) – was a Russian writer and poet, notable for his romantic novels and short stories, mostly set in an unnamed fantasy land (which in time became known as Grinlandia) with a European or Latin American flavor. He was born into a family of exiles from Poland, in Slobodskaya Vyatka Province. In 1896 at age 16, Grin finished a four-year Vyatka college and left for Odessa. He ran away from home and lived as a tramp, worked as a sailor, and a fisherman, sought gold in the Urals, and later served the army, where he joined the Socialist revolutionary party. However, his lush and romantic tales which transport the reader to exotic and refreshingly apolitical climes, worlds away from the author’s gloomy motherland, came to be in conflict with principles of the communist party. During his life he has been arrested for propaganda and sentenced to exile three times. The most notable of his novels include Scarlet Sails (1923) perhaps the most famous of Grin’s works, The Shining World (1923), The Golden Chain (1925), She Who Runs on the Waves (1928), Jessie and Morgiana (1929) and The Road to Nowhere (1930). Grin died of cancer, in poverty, at age 51 and his work was heavily censured by the communist party, but he remains a beloved literary figure in Russia. There are three museums dedicated to his legacy and every May 25 he is remembered in the graduation holiday “Scarlet Sails” (Aliye Parusa), considered one of the most beautiful holiday spectacles in Russia.
Anna Starobinets is a Russian journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. She was born in 1978 in Moscow. Starobinets is best known as a writer of dystopian and metaphysical novels and short stories, and is also a very successful children’s author. An Awkward Age, her collection of short stories, was a finalist of the National Bestseller Prize in 2006 and has been translated into seven languages. She is the author of seven published books, including two for children.
Alexander Kuprin (1870-1938), an iconic Russian writer, who was also a pilot, journalist, actor, circus worker and adventurer. Kuprin is best known for The Duel, a novel, conceived in his second year in the army, and commenting on the “horror and tedium of army life”. He is considered one of the last proponents of the great tradition of Russian critical realism. Like most Russian patriots of the time, Kuprin did not “welcome” Bolsheviks and probably remained an anti-Communist throughout his life. In June 1918, Kuprin was arrested for a short time for an article in the paper Molva (Rumor) critical of the regime, resulting in Kuprin’s exile in 1919 – for him a difficult and tragic time. Following this tragic ordeal, very ill when, in 1937, one year before his death, he returned to the USSR.
Varlam Shalamov was a Russian writer and poet. He was born in 1907 in Vologda, to an Orthodox priest and a housewife. In 1922 he went to Moscow and began working there in a factory. He then began studying law at the University of Moscow and joined a Trotskyite group. In 1929, after publishing a leaflet criticizing Stalin, he was accused of subversive activity and sent to two years of hard labor in the Ural Mountains. He returned to Moscow in 1932 and started publishing his literary works and write for newspapers. In 1937, he was again arrested for publicly supporting author Ivan Bunin. He was sent to the camps on the Kolyma River in Siberia for 17 years to hard labor. In 1946, after he deteriorated into a critical condition, he succeeded with a friend’s help in finding the role of a helper in the hospital and thus managed to survive. He was released from the Gulag in the 1950s and allowed to publish some of his poetry. Parts from his main work Kolyma Notebooks began to appear in the underground in the mid-1960s and were also published outside the Soviet Union. In 1970, ill, broken and completely dependent on the Soviet Writers Association, he was made to publish a letter in which he denied his works published abroad. In 1978, his famous book Kolima Tales was published in England – 103 brief sketches, vignettes, and short stories chronicles the degradation and dehumanization of prison-camp life. The stories were banned in the Soviet Union until 1988. Collections of his poetry and prose were published in various languages after his death.