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 Mikhail  Shishkin

Born:   January 18, 1961

Contemporary Russian prose writer


Mikhail Pavlovich Shishkin was born into the family of a submariner, who took part in the Great Patriotic War, and a teacher. The paternal grandfather of Mikhail was repressed and lost.
The future artist grew up in a communal flat in Moscow. As a teenager he worked as a street cleaner and asphalt spreader. Upon graduation from the Foreign Languages Faculty of the Moscow State Teachers' Training Institute in 1982 Mikhail Shishkin contributed for the Rovesnik magazine, wrote essays about art and translated from German for three years. Afterwards he worked as a school teachers of the German and English languages in Moscow for 10 years.
Mikhail Shishkin got married to a Swiss and has lived with his wife in Zurich, Switzerland, since 1995.
He had his first story published in 1993: it was the short story Calligraphy Lesson in the Znamya magazine.
Mikhail Shishkin has gained universal acclaim with his fiction novels One Night Befalls Us All (1993), The Taking of Izmail (1999; awarded the Russian Booker Prize in 2000), Maidenhair (2005; won the Big Book Award and the National Best-Seller Prize in 2006 and its German translation took the  International Literature Award of 2011), and The Letter Book (Pismovnik) (2010; won the Big Book Award in 2011).
Mikhail Shishkin is also known as the author of the literary and historical guidebook Russian Switzerland (1999) and Montreux-Missolunghi-Astapovo, in the Steps of Byron and Tolstoy, an essay collection in German (2002).
The prose by Mikhail Shishkin fuses the best traits of the Russian and European literary traditions: it has inherited rich vocabulary, musicality and subtle psychologism from Anton Chekhov, Ivan Bunin, and Vladimir Nabokov, and adapted from European masters of the "new novel", first of all James Joyce, the principle of changing styles and narrators within one work, fragmentary composition  and focusing on the language rather than plot.

Tags: Mikhail Shishkin Russian Writers Contemporary Writers Russian Literature  

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