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“Read Russia” at The London Book Fair
On 14-16 March, the longstanding Olympia exhibition centre in London will host The 2017 London Book Fair—the forty-sixth meeting of this international exhibition and a very important event for the world book industry. Russia will present several interesting projects at this exhibition.
This year Poland was announced as the fair’s guest of honor. Russia participated in The London Book Fair as a guest of honor in 2011. That year the world was first introduced to the “Read Russia” project—a major initiative in the history of Russian publishing with the goal of acquainting an international audience of readers with contemporary Russian literature. It should be remembered that in 2014 the Russian capital, Moscow, was a guest of the fair as part of the collaborative UK-Russia Year of Culture. Russia’s participation in the 2016 London Book Fair was a component of the collaborative UK-Russia Year of Language and Literature.
This year the Russian booth will exhibit more than 450 new titles from Russian publishers. Special attention will be devoted to the works of Russian authors who mark important anniversaries in 2017 (including Konstantin Paustovsky, Marina Tsvetaeva, Valentin Kataev, Vladimir Makanin, Bella Akhmadulina, Maximilian Voloshin, Varlam Shalamov), as well as educational books, children’s literature, and books printed by foreign publishing houses as part of the Institute for Literary Translation’s grant program.
Visitors to the Russian national booth will be able to acquaint themselves with the products of over thirty publishing houses, including Elena Shubina Publishers, Vremya, Aletheia, Book Centre Rudomino, Eksmo, the Russian Political Encyclopedia, Boslen, Alpina Publisher, Paulsen Co Ltd, Limbus Press, Citata Plus, Detgiz, Pink Giraffe, Samokat, A Walk Through History, BGS Agency, OGI, the Publishing House of the Higher School of Economics, Europe Publishers, V-A-C Press, Delo, the Gaidar Institute Press, Heter, Sinbad, and the Chuvash Book Publishing House.
After the fair, the book exhibition will be given as a gift to delegation of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Russian booth will be decorated by an exhibit of book illustrations made by young Russian artists for works by British authors. The artist is no less important to a children’s book than its author. Finding inspiration in the works of Jerome K. Jerome, Kenneth Grahame, Roald Dahl, and Anne Fine, these young graphic artists used a variety of styles and artistic techniques to create remarkable illustrations, which can be appreciated by children and adults alike. The exhibit was prepared by the Director of the “Book Design” department of the Moscow Union of Artists, the Distinguished Artist of Russia Anastasia Arkhipova.
The program of events at the Russian booth is traditionally packed: there are recitals and discussions of the authors’ works, presentations of Russian literary works in new English translations, and presentations on initiatives opening vast opportunities for publishers, translators, and literary agents the world over.
The well-known British translators Arch Tate, Donald Rayfield, and John Farndon will present new English translations of books like Tsunami by Anatoly Kurchatkin, Dance of Devils by Hamid Ismailov, and Shards from the Polar Ice by Lydia Grigorieva.
The Citata Plus publishing house will present the international publishing project “Yaroslavl and Exeter: Twin Cities,” dedicated to the twentieth anniversary of the Yaroslavl-Exeter House of Friendship and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the twinning of these two cities.
The British Council will present a special project for the UK-Russia Year of Language and Literature, called TransLit. In the autumn of 2016 six British and Russian writers, literary scholars, photographers, and musicians departed on a fascinating adventure down the Trans-Siberian railway. During this time, they created new artistic works and held performances. The Russian author Alisa Ganieva and the British author Andrew Dickson and Joe Dunthorne will share their impressions of this unusual trip. Their story will be accompanied by a demonstration of visuals created by Arseny Khachaturian for The Storytellers project.
One of the most exciting events will be a series of opportunities for the British public to meet the leading Russian writers Alexei Ivanov, Alisa Ganieva, Marina Stepanova, and Vadim Levental. The writer Valery Bochkov (USA), recipient of the “Russian Prize,” will also take part in the fair. Over the course of these meetings and discussions the writers will be joined by leading literary critics, translators, Slavists, and other specialists in the field of literature and publishing.
Literary recitals will take place at the Russian booth, as well as in other cultural sites in the capital of “Foggy Albion”: in Waterstones bookstore (the largest in Europe), the Pushkin House cultural center, and the representative offices of Rossotrudnichestvo.
In addition, there will be special film screenings in London as part of the Read Russia Program. My Own Honor Bright (dir. Alexander Karpilovsky) is based on a book by the same title by Mikhail Selsavinsky, and The Backbone of Russia is a documentary television project by the writer Alexei Ivanov (with the help of the journalist, television presenter, and director Leonid Parfenov), investigating the peculiar features of culture in the Urals, which has imbibed European positivism, Russian peasant culture, and local paganism.
Editors of Russkiy Mir