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Award-winning Russian writers to give public readings in Oxford
April 1, 2005

For Immediate Release

Washington, DC — Four Russian writers will conduct readings of their work in Oxford, Mississippi, and meet with American writers at the University of Mississippi from April 6 to April 17 as part of a unique cultural exchange program hosted by the University and CEC ArtsLink, and managed by the independent Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, which also funds the administrative portion of the program. The Open World “Cultural Leaders Program” aims to forge better understanding between the U.S. and Russia by giving emerging Russian leaders in the arts the unique opportunity to discuss cultural and community life with their U.S. counterparts. Support for the cultural program is provided through partnership and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The visiting writers are Stanislav Lvovsky, Nataliya Kurchatova, Aleksandr Skidan, and Anastasia Gosteva. Lvovsky is a poet, fiction writer, and translator, author of White Noise, A Word on Flowers and Dogs, Three Months of the Year 02, Poems About the Motherland, and, with Linor Goralik, the novel Half of the Sky. Kurchatova is a poet and literary critic who writes for the magazine Time Out St. Petersburg. Skidan is also a poet and literary critic, and author of Delirium, A Critical Mass, In the Re-reading, and The Resistance to/of Poetry. Like Lvovsky, Skidan has published many well-received translations from English; both poets have also been anthologized in English in the 2000 collection Crossing Centuries. Gosteva is a fiction writer whose published works include the novel Den for the Enlightened.

While in Mississippi, the Russian writers will be hosted by the Ole Miss English Department and the Croft Center for International Studies. Their activities will give them a taste of the literary and musical South as they interact with local writers and learn about a wide variety of subjects, from William Faulkner to the Delta blues.

Highlights of the Russian writers’ schedule include:

· A “Russian breakfast,” with public readings and Russian cakes served up in connection with the tenth annual Oxford Conference for the Book (open to the public: April 8, 7:30 am, Off Square Books)
· Discussing publishing in the U.S. with editors and agents at the Conference for the Book
· Participating in two translation workshops based on their works with students and faculty in the Ole Miss MFA program in Creative Writing
· Participating in a panel discussion on Russian and American culture hosted by the Croft Center for International Studies (open to the public: April 12, 8:00 pm, Croft Center)
· Touring Rowan Oak, William Faulkner’s home-museum, and other Faulkner sites in Oxford
· Reading from their work at the University of Mississippi (open to the public: April 13, 7:00 pm, Bondurant Auditorium)

The writers will also experience mid-South cultural activities such as listening to the Delta blues at both a juke joint in Clarksdale and a rib place on Beale Street in Memphis. Following their stay in Mississippi, Lvovsky, Kurchatova, Skidan and Gosteva will travel to New York City, where they will spend April 17-23 attending PEN World Voices: The New York Festival of International Literature, organized by the PEN American Center, and share their work with New York audiences.

The Open World Program is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress designed to build mutual understanding between the United States and Russia. Over 8,900 Open World participants from all 89 Russian regions have been hosted in all 50 U.S. states since the program’s inception in 1999. Delegates range from members of the Russian parliament to mayors, from innovative nonprofit directors to experienced journalists, and from political party activists to regional administrators. Open World has also launched pilot programs with Lithuania, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

CEC ArtsLink, through a multi-faceted program of cultural exchange, serves to create and sustain constructive, mutually beneficial relationships in the arts between the U.S. and Central Europe, Russia and Eurasia. Working with artists, arts organizations and community-based groups, CEC ArtsLink provides an essential structure for ongoing dialogue between the U.S. and these formerly isolated cultures.

For more information and to arrange interviews with these Russian writers, please contact Masha Pyshkina, CEC ArtsLink, at 646-932-4763, or Doug Robinson, Professor of English at the University of Mississippi, at 662-915-7684. For more background on Open World and the Cultural Leaders Program, please visit or contact George Felcyn at 202-466-6210.