The Linguist

The Linguist 53,4

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Page 9 of 35

10 The Linguist AUGUST/SEPTEMBER RUSSIAN IN THE UK As more Russian books are published in English, Yana Kovalskaya looks at what's driving this revival T he end of the 20th century marked the beginning of a difficult period for contemporary Russian writing. With the fall of the Soviet Union, the notorious censorship apparatus was no longer an issue, but Russia's publishing industry was not spared the economic and social hardships that followed the collapse. This, in turn, severely crippled the ability of existing and newly emerging authors to establish themselves on the literary arena in their home country, let alone internationally. Writers continued writing but the industry couldn't support the growing number of literary voices that longed to be heard outside Mother Russia. With the exception of a few editions of well-known Russian classics, little Russian literature was published in the UK from 1990 until 2011, when a new publisher came along. The British fascination with dissident writers whose works had been smuggled out of the USSR or written in exile had faded, and British publishers were reluctant to produce translations of new Russian fiction. During this period, Glas New Russian Writing was publishing English versions of modern Russian titles in Russia. A few of the most outstanding made their way to the British reader, and the beginning of the 21st century saw a slow rise of English-language publications of big Russian literary names. Some gained international recognition, with Lyudmila Ulitskaya and Vladimir Sorokin winning the Man Booker International Prize in 2009 and 2013. Tatyana Tolstaya, Lyudmila Petrushevskaya, Vladimir Sorokin and Victor Pelevin, whose works still enjoy wide international attention, became known in the UK, thanks to the efforts of a select group of British publishers. The period was marked by Boris Akunin taking over the British market for historical detective novels; Mikhail Shishkin's deep philosophical works earning high praise among UK critics; and another unlikely name – Sergei Lukyanenko – making his way on to the British science fiction shelves. A literary renaissance was beginning to return Russia to its former literary glory. One publisher's mission The British book market, dominated by authors writing in English, is not easy to enter, even for an award-winning foreign A Russian renaissance

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