Andrej Kurkow Portrait
© Hartwig Klappert

Guest 2011, 2014.

Bibliography

Picknick auf dem Eis

Diogenes

Zürich, 1999

[Ü: Christa Vogel]

Die letzte Liebe des Präsidenten

Diogenes

Zürich, 2007

[Ü: Sabine Grebing]

Der wahrhaftige Volkskontrolleur

Haymon

Innsbruck, 2011

[Ü: Kerstin Monschein]

Der unbeugsame Papagei

Haymon

Innsbruck, 2013

[Ü: Sabine Grebing]

Ukrainisches Tagebuch

Aufzeichnungen aus dem Herzen des Protests

Haymon

Innsbruck, 2014

[Ü: Steffen Beilich]

Andrej Kurkow [ Ukraine ]

Andrej Kurkov was born in Budugošč’ near Leningrad (St. Petersburg today) in 1961. He has lived in Kiev since his early childhood, and Russian is his mother tongue. He graduated from the National Pedagogical Institute for Foreign Languages in Kiev in 1983. Kurkov speaks seven languages, and has worked in different professions. He started writing when still at school, and has composed various novels and five children’s books to date. His early works are thrillers, including »Smert’ postoronnego« (1996; Eng. »Death and the Penguin«, 2010), »Dobryj angel smerti« (2000; Eng. »The Good Angel of Death«, 2009), and »Milyj drug, tovarišč pokojnika« (2001; Eng. »A friend of the deceased«, 1997). These are dynamic portrayals of the city of Kiev in the post-Perestroika period, whose heroes are animals or lonely and marginalized figures who get involved in extreme situations and fail in a demoralized and selfish society. Kurkov tells his detective stories in a – given the genre – atypically calm narrative flow, and in a predominantly melancholic mood. He also writes social novels that raise political and philosophical questions. »Poslednjaja ljubov’ presidenta« (2005; Eng. »The President’s Last Love«, 2009) is about a fictitious Ukrainian President Bunin, whose ability to act fails him while he becomes the plaything of his advisors. The grotesque tale refers to the dubious figures in recent Ukrainian history − Victor Juščenko and Julia Timošenko. The short stories in his anthology »Herbstfeuer« (2007) (tr. Autumn Fire) are equally playful narrations and full of the black humour that distinguishes Kurkov’s prose. Kurkov’s novel »Nočnoj moločnik« (2007, Eng. »The Milkman in the Night«, 2011) once again reflects the absurdities of Kiev’s everyday life. The love story which, at the same time, is a black comedy, a detective novel and a social satire, tells the life of the Ukrainian middle class trying to make a decent living in the suburbs of the capital by offering all kinds of services. In his latest novel »Skazanie ob istinno narodnom kontrolere« (tr. The People’s Controller) he oscillates between reality and imagination in the story of Pavel Dobrynin, who unexpectedly becomes elected the »Life People’s Controller for the whole Soviet Union«. On his journeys he meets most colourful personalities, including a deserted angel who tries to find a just Soviet citizen, because so far there is none in heaven.
Kurkov’s novels have been translated into many languages, including German, French, and Spanish. The author has written screenplays for more than 20 feature and documentary films, and works as a scriptwriter for the National Film Studio A. Dovženko in Kiev. His prose is characterized by surrealism, satire and prescient observations on post-Soviet conditions. Kurkov’s literary works have been translated into more than 30 languages. Articles and essays have appeared in the »New York Times«, »The Guardian«, the »New Statesman«, »Libération«, »Le Monde«, and »Die Zeit«. In 2012, he received the Nikolai Gogol Prize in Rome and the Readers’ Choice Award at the European Book Festival in Cognac. Andrej Kurkov lives in Kiev.