History of Literature

Russian literature


Lyudmila Petrushevskaya


Lyudmila Stefanovna Petrushevskaya (Russian: Людмила Стефановна Петрушевская) (born May 26, 1938) is a Russian writer, novelist and playwright. Petrushevskaya is regarded as one of Russia's most talented contemporary writers, whose writing combines postmodernist trends with the psychological insights and parodic touches of writers such as Anton Chekhov. Over the last few decades, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya has been one of the most admired and acclaimed contemporary writers at work in Eastern Europe: Publishers Weekly has called her "one of the finest living Russian writers".

In 1979 she was co-writer of the scenario for one of the most influential Russian animated films, Tale of Tales. She served as a jury member in the 3rd Open Russian Festival of Animated Film in 1998.

In a 1993 interview with Sally Laird, translator of her novella, "The Time Night," Petrushevskaya said of her own work, "Russia is a land of women Homers, women who tell their stories orally, just like that, without inventing anything. They're extraordinarily talented storytellers. I'm just a listener among them."

Her works include the novels The Time Night (1992) and The Number One, both short-listed for the Russian Booker Prize, and Immortal Love, a collection of short stories and monologues. Since the late 1980s her plays, stories and novels have been published in more than 30 languages all over the world. In 2003 she was awarded the Pushkin Prize in Russian literature by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation in Germany. She was awarded The Russian State Prize for arts (2004), The Stanislavsky Award (2005), and The Triumph Prize (2006).

A new book, "There Once Lived a Woman who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby," by Lyudmila Petrushevskaya was published in the U.S. by Penguin in October 2009. The first major translation of her work by an American publisher, the stories often contain mystical or allegorical elements which are used to illuminate bleak Soviet and post-Soviet living conditions. The collection of stories has been well-reviewed, buttressing Petrushevskaya's reputation in the English-speaking world. An article in Dissent called the collection "a striking introduction to the author's work":

"Petrushevskaya’s stories could easily be read as bleak grotesques, populated by envious neighbors, selfish adolescents, and parents who overcompensate with exaggerated love. But ultimately, Petrushevskaya’s skillful juxtapositions yield glints of light. Resilience and ingenuity thread through the hardship, whether in the form of forgiveness or love. Such traces of humanity are starker—and brighter—because of the darkness that surrounds them."

"There Once Lived a Woman" entered The New York Times Book Review Top 35 Bestsellers (Dec 2009)

In her late 60s Liudmila Petrushevskaya started a powerful singing career. She re-wrote most famous songs of the 20th century (from Ella Fitzdgerald to Edith Piaf) - those best known hits of war and peace, tears and happiness, love and sorrow - and created new lyrics for her favorite songs. Since 2008 she's regularly performing as a singer in Moscow (from nightclubs to major venues such as Moscow House of Music) and across Russia as well as internationally (from New York to Odessa). Recently she started writing her own songs. Some of the videos showing Petrushevskaya as a singer became youtube's hits

Petrushevskaya is also known as a visual artist - her portraits, nudes and still lifes have been shown in major Russia's museums (Tretyakov Gallery, Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, State Museum of Literature9lk) and private galleries

Lyudmila Petrushevskaya lives in Moscow, where she continues her work.


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