The new canon of Russophone women-authors, according to the editors of Polka

Two years ago, a prominent journalist and editor Yury Saprykin asked a number of Russian authors, editors, critics, educators, and so on, to nominate the works that they considered key in the Russian literary canon. On April 2, 2018, Saprykin’s launched the website, polka.academy with the resulting list of 108 books. It’s a gorgeous website, unfortunately available only in Russian. Another unfortunate part is that this list included only three books by women-authors: Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, and Petrushevksaya.

Two years later, the editors addressed this problem. A team of writers created a new list that they call “Women’s Canon” of over 70 authors who deserve to be remembered. (This list, too, is unfortunately only available in Russian.) The authors include a thoughtful note that this list isn’t complete and promise to return to this work in the future. We’re delighted to welcome this list and look forward to seeing this work continued.

On a personal note from the creators of Punctured Lines, we’re particularly pleased to see a listing of Aleksandra Brushtein’s delightful young adult novel with a title that’s difficult to translate and that means something like “The road that will lead you to an unknown future.” This book was deeply influential to both of us, and on Twitter we’ve been actively advocating for its re-translation to English. Of the unfortunate omissions, we can point to Julia Voznesenskaya’s novel Women’s Decameron from 1985.

6 thoughts on “The new canon of Russophone women-authors, according to the editors of Polka

      1. Yeah, sorry, should have specified that N is obviously on the original list. At least something like Priglashenie na kazn’ is a Russian-language text, just written abroad. But Lolita … I’m stumped.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Fascinating list! No, I can’t read Russian, but Chrome translated it enough for me to get a flavour and also to see how many new to me women authors are on the list and also for me to despair of ever reading them as I imagine most of them are not translated. Woe!

    Liked by 2 people

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