The Russia of Chekhov, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Pushkin has given way to that of Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Andrey Kurkov, Oleg Pavlov, Andrey Gelasimov, Zakhar Prilepin and Vassili Golovanov, but the Russian soul continues to exert its lasting fascination over the cultural world. A number of publishers in France are “smugglers” of Russian literature, including Actes Sud, Noir sur Blanc, les Syrtes, Verdier and Liana Levi. This year, the Geneva Fair for Books and Press is happy to invite Russian publishers to showcase a panorama of Russian literature, both past and present, in all its richness, vitality and complexity.
The Russian area will be made up of a comprehensive bookshop, containing a blend of classical and contemporary literature (with works in both French and Russian thanks to the support of the Institut de la Traduction (Institute of Translation), the arts (catalogues published by the most important Russian museums, such as the Russian Museum in St Petersburg and the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow), culture (books on national customs, traditional costumes, popular occupations), travel (guides to various tourist regions of the country, photograph albums), Russian cuisine and language (Russian language-learning textbooks).
Young people have not been forgotten either, with an area constructed around exhibitions by contemporary painters, a range of children’s books, play installations and workshops given by Russian cartoonists.
One stand will also be devoted to literature about the Second World War, the 70th anniversary of which is being celebrated in Russia this year. A “Russia – Switzerland” area will present works on the history of bilateral diplomatic and cultural relations between the two countries.
Over the five days, a delegation of leading Russian authors, such as Evgeny Vodolazkin, Zakhar Prilepin, Andrey Gelasimov, Andrey Baldin, Elena Tchijova, Roman Sentchine, Oleg Pavlov, Vladislav Otrochenko and Marina Stepnova, will host discussions and round tables in a spirit of open exchanges.