Blog Archives


It’s a hundred years since the October Revolution. What was it really like at the time, when nobody knew how it would end? Was all the violence worth it? Was a new dawn really breaking? This hugely varied collection of

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Posted in books, history, translation

The Unwomanly Face of War

Svetlana Alexievich’s first book is the latest to be (re-)translated into English, in the wake of her Nobel Prize win. It tells a story that stretches back over a century – Russian women fought against Napoleon too, as Alexievich notes

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Posted in books, translation

Women in Translation Month: Marina Tsvetaeva

The age of the Russian Revolution produced some extraordinary poetry, and the women poets deserve better recognition. For spot-on quick-fire dispatches from a period of unprecedented change, try Teffi, but for poetry, try Tsvetaeva, who died 76 years ago today. Glagoslav

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Posted in books, gender, poetry, translation

Just ahead of the revolution

“Moscow. Autumn. Cold. My Petersburg life has been liquidated.” If Twitter had been invented 100 years ago, perhaps Teffi would have had quite a following. She is certainly concise, doesn’t appear to take herself and her craft too seriously, but shares highly entertaining vignettes,

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Posted in books, history, translation

Written in the dark

After the Siege of Leningrad, it has taken seven decades for these poems to be published. The blockade was horrific: at least 600,000 civilians had died by the time it was over on 27 January 1944. It’s no surprise the reality of

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Posted in books, history, poetry, translation

We need more Akhmatova

With some books, you have to be ready.This poet is one of Russia’s best, but it took me this long to sit down and read her. It’s time you did, too. Anna Akhmatova’s Selected Poems in Richard McKane’s English translation

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Posted in books, faith, history, literature, poetry, translation, Women in Translation Month

Women in translation month: Lydia Grigorieva

As women in translation month returns, the task is simple – just read! So I went to a new publisher of Slavonic literature, Glagoslav, and found the perfect way to start. Lydia Grigorieva’s Shards from the Polar Ice is out today and

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Posted in books, gender, poetry, translation, Women in Translation Month
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