Join us for a screening and talk about the documentary RUSSIA’S OPEN BOOK, which celebrates contemporary Russian authors who are carrying on one of the world’s great literary traditions - on their own terms. Excerpts from the authors’ works are brought to life by vivid animated sequences created exclusively for the film and voiced-over with dramatic readings in English by actor, author, and activist Stephen Fry (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Jeeves and Wooster, The Hobbit).
Selected film clips will be screened, with Q&A from the panel following each. The panel will include Dr. Michael Pesenson and Dr. Thomas Garza, professors of Russian literature in the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at UT, contemporary Russian author Andrei Gelasimov, and award-winning translator Marian Schwartz, who translated Gelasimov's book Thirst (Zhazhda).
More info on the film can be seen at www.russiasopenbook.com.
Andrei Gelasimov, born in Irkutsk in 1965, studied foreign languages at the Yakutsk State University and directing at the Moscow Theater Institute. He became an overnight literary sensation in Russia in 2001 when his story A Tender Age, which he published on the Internet, was awarded a prize for the best debut. It went on to garner the Apollon-Grigorev and the Belkin prizes, as well, and his novels have been consistently met with critical and popular success in Russia and throughout Europe. Thirst is his first book published in English, followed by three others - all translated by Marian Schwartz - including Gods of the Steppe, which won the 2009 "Big Book" Russian National Bestseller award. Gelasimov won the Best Screenplay and Best First Film awards at the 2013 Honfleur Film Festival for the film adaptation of Thirst.
Marian Schwartz has translated over 60 volumes of Russian classic and contemporary fiction, history, biography, criticism, and fine art. She is the principal English translator of the works of Nina Berberova and translated the New York Times’ bestseller The Last Tsar, by Edvard Radzinsky, as well as classics by Mikhail Bulgakov, Ivan Goncharov, Yuri Olesha, and Mikhail Lermontov. Her most recent book translations are Andrei Gelasimov’s Gods of the Steppe, Mikhail Shishkin's Maidenhair, Leonid Yuzefovich’s Harlequin’s Costume, and Aleksandra Shatskikh's Black Square. She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowships and is a past president of the American Literary Translators Association.
Dr. Michael Pesenson is an Assistant Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at UT Austin. He has written extensively on Russian literature and culture from the Middle Ages to contemporary times. At UT, he teaches a course on contemporary Russia through literature and film, as well as courses on medieval, 19th and 20th century Russian literary classics. His forthcoming monograph is entitled Antichrist in Russia: The Changing Face of Apocalyptic Evil in Russian Literature and Culture from the Middle Ages through the “Silver Age.”
Dr. Thomas J. Garza is University Distinguished Teaching associate professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies and director of the Texas Language Center at The University of Texas at Austin. He teaches courses on Russian language, culture, and literature, including a source study of Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel, The Master and Margarita, a survey of Soviet and Russian science fiction literature and film, and a course on the Chechen wars and the literary works about them from the 19th and 21st centuries. His course on contemporary Russian youth culture presents filmic and literary portraits of Russian youth and disenfranchisement in the works of writers, such as Viktor Pelevin, Vladimir Sorokin, and Lyudmila Ulitskaya. His current book project is entitled Bandits No More: Marginal Masculinities in Contemporary Mexican and Russian Cultures, and examines performances of masculinity and "machismo" in Mexican and Russian popular culture of the late 1990s and 2000s.
Sponsored by: A grant from WNET New York Public Media