Studying Contemporary Russian Fiction – Reader Survey

Ludmila Ulitskaya

Mikhail Shishkin

Hello! My name is Sarah Gear, and I am researching the translation and reception of contemporary Russian fiction as part of my PhD thesis for the RusTrans project. To discover how politics and publishing intersect in the literary market, I am examining differences in the commissioning, translation, promotion and reception of novels by contemporary Russian liberal and nationalist writers.

Roman Senchin

Vladimir Sorokin

To do this, I am comparing the novels of six critically acclaimed Russian authors – some of them well-known abroad (Shishkin, Sorokin, Ulitskaya), others less so. Ultimately, I would like to know who decides which authors to translate, how publishing houses select novels for translation, and to what extent politics – Russian, British and American – have an influence on this process.

Mikhail Elizarov

Zakhar Prilepin

Reader reception is vital to forming part of this picture: therefore I have created an online survey which anyone who has read even ONE of the novels below can complete. There is no need to answer all of the questions, and you can return to the survey multiple times.

You will find the survey here: and you can contact me with any queries here.

The novels are:

  • The Librarian by Mikhail Elizarov, translated by Andrew Bromfield (Pushkin Press, 2007/2015)
  • Sankya, by Zakhar Prilepin, translated by Maria Gusev and Jeff Parker with Alina Ryabovolova, (Glagoslav, 2006/2014)
  • Minus by Roman Senchin, translated by Arch Tait (Glas, 2002/2008)
  • Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin, translated by Marian Schwartz (Open Letter, 2005/2012)
  • The Day of the Oprichnik by Vladimir Sorokin, translated by Jamey Gambrell (2006; Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2011; Penguin Classics, 2018)
  • The Big Green Tent by Ludmila Ulitskaya, translated by Polly Gannon (Picador, 2010/2015)

Note: the first date given is the year of first Russian publication; the second is the publication date of the English translation

A huge thank you in advance, and happy reading!