Meet Ukraine’s Greatest Novelist: Andrey Kurkov

A satirist novelist in the tradition of Gogol and Bulgakov, Andrey Kurkov “has spent his life writing about realities so absurd they defy satire” claims Giles Harvey in the NYT. In February 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine, Kurkov was working on a novel about the Soviet-Ukrainian war of 1917-21, in which Ukrainian nationalists, aided by various Western powers, established an independent republic for the first time — only to see it promptly disband into the new USSR. Bitterly ironically, Kurkov’s historical novel has been interrupted by history in the making.

Since then, Kurkov has published the novel Grey Beys (trans. by, Deep Vellum) which tells the story of a beekeeper who lives in a desert village of the Donbass region alone with his childhood enemy. Torn between the Ukrainian army and the pro-Russian, our two men have divergent opinions about the ongoing conflict, yet, they will be forced to cooperate in order to survive.

On Sunday, December 10, at 4pm, join internationally acclaimed Andrey Kurkov and Maria Genkin, member of the board of Razom for Ukraine, for a conversation on his work. This event will be in English. It is free with RSVP. Click here for tickets.

Andrey Kurkov
Born near Leningrad in 1961, Andrey Kurkov was a journalist, prison warder, cameraman and screenplay-writer before he became well known as a novelist. He received “hundreds of rejections” and was a pioneer of self-publishing, selling more than 75,000 copies of his books in a single year. His novel Death and the Penguin (Melville House), his first in English translation, became an international bestseller, translated into more than thirty languages. As well as writing fiction for adults and children, he has become known as a commentator and journalist on Ukraine for the international media. His work of reportage, Ukraine Diaries: Dispatches from Kiev, was published in 2014, followed by the novel The Bickford Fuse (MacLehose Press, 2016). He lives in Kiev with his British wife and their three children.

Maria Genkin
Maria serves on the Board of Razom for Ukraine, a leading Ukrainian American non-profit focused on Ukraine. Maria co-founded and manages Razom Book Club and Razom Translates, a program to bring more Ukrainian literature to American Audiences.