Writers in Residence Program
The Harriman Institute’s Writer in Residence Program brings renowned writers from Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe to Columbia for an extended visit. The initiative was launched in 2013 by graduate students from the Department of Slavic Languages eager to discuss literature with living authors from the region. Writers in Residence teach a short course, meet with students and faculty, and participate in special public events that allow the writer to present their work to a broader audience and to facilitate a cross-cultural dialog.
Spring 2022 Writer in Residence
Harriman Institute Writer in Residence Maria Stepanova has long played a central role in post-Soviet culture as leading poet of her generation, essayist and editor-in-chief of Colta.ru, the enormously influential online publication. The prestigious Andrei Bely Prize and Joseph Brodsky Fellowship are among her many awards. Her novel In Memory of Memory solidified her reputation with the Big Book Prize and the NOS Literary Prize, not to mention the dozens of translations and reviews that have appeared in the international press. The English translation by Sasha Dugdale (New Directions, 2021) was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize. You can read an excerpt from the work in the Summer 2021 issue of Harriman Magazine. During her Columbia residency Stepanova will teach a 1-credit course, titled "Between History and Story: (Post) Memorial Literature in the Post-Soviet Space" (March 25-April 15, 2022) and deliver a major address, along with a reading of her poetry. The Harriman Institute has also organized a symposium to discuss her work. In addition, the Harriman Institute is sponsoring a Translation Contest for best translation of a Stepanova poem, to be chosen from a set of two. Photo by Andrey Natotsinsky.
“A luminous, rigorous, and mesmerizing interrogation of the relationship between personal history, family history, and capital-H History. […] In Memory of Memory has that trick of feeling both completely original and already classic, and I confidently expect this translation to bring Maria Stepanova a rabid American fan base on the order of the one she already enjoys in Russia.”
– Elif Batuman
“Maria Stepanova is one of Russia’s most influential cultural figures.”
– The Moscow Times
“Stepanova’s finely crafted debut follows a woman’s lifelong efforts to better understand her ancestors, Russian Jews whose stories fascinated her as a child growing up in the Soviet Union…[an] admirable cross-genre project will intrigue fans of erudite autofiction.”
– Publishers Weekly