Mikhail Shishkin (1961) is a Russian writer, one of the most highly acclaimed Russian authors who has also won the main literary prizes of his native country – despite the fact that Shishkin, who has been living in Switzerland since 1996, is one of the fiercest critics of Putin’s Russia. Especially after Russia launched its full-scale war againast Ukraine. Shortly after Russia attacked Ukraine, Shishkin published an essay, writing, “On behalf of my Russia and on behalf of my people, I apologize to all Ukrainians. However, I realize that not everything that happens is forgivable.” Shishkin explores the topics of guilt and redemption related to war, and the future of Europe and European sensibility in more depth in his collection of essays My Russia: War or Peace?. With his writing, Shishkin boldly places himself in the line of fire, with his compatriots crazed from ambitions of world dominion on the one side, and those who are unable to trust a single Russian on the other. At the same time, we must not forget that Shishkin is also a notable citizen of the Republic of Letters. This can be gleaned from his works of fiction, most notably The Taking of Izmail (1999), which won the Russian Booker Prize, and Maidenhair (2005), which seems a fitting example of Shishkin’s artistic character, as it combines postmodern games with form and a sincere look at timeless topics. Thirdly, Letterbook (2010), is a love story whose protagonists will not let war or separation stop them.
|Friday, 26 May at 17:00
|Mihhail Shishkin and Harri Tiido
|Estonian Writers’ Union