Mikhail Shishkin

Mikhail Shishkin is one of the most acclaimed contemporary Russian literary figures and is the only author to win all three major Russian literary prizes (including the Russian Booker Prize). Born in Moscow in 1961, Shishkin studied English and German at Moscow State Pedagogical Institute. After graduation he worked as a street sweeper, road worker, journalist, school teacher, and translator. He debuted as a writer in 1993, when his short story “Calligraphy Lesson” was published in Znamya magazine. The story went on to win him the Debut Prize. Since 1995 he has lived in Switzerland. Shishkin’s books have been translated into more than ten languages. His prose is universally praised for style, and his novels and stories deal with universal themes like death, resurrection, and love. Shishkin has been compared to numerous great writers, including Anton Chekhov, Vladimir Nabokov and James Joyce. Shishkin carries on the tradition of the greatest Russian writers, and admits to their influence in his work, “Bunin taught me not to compromise, and to go on believing in myself. Chekhov passed on his sense of humanity – that there can’t be any wholly negative characters in your text. And from Tolstoy I learned not to be afraid of being naïve.”

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