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Igor Sakhnovsky

Igor Sakhnovsky

On 08, Dec 2011 | In

Highly acclaimed in Russia and firmly established as one of the most interesting Russian writers of today.

Igor Sakhnovsky was born in 1958 in the town of Orsk, in the south of the Ural range that traditionally divides the European and Asian parts of Russia. He studied philology at the Ural State University and went on to serve as scientific and chief editor at the Academy of Sciences, as well as directing the journal Book Club.

He has been published in a number of leading literary journals, both in and outside Russia. His novel The Vital Needs Of The Dead was published in 1999 in the journal New World (Новый Мир) and subsequently translated into English, German and French. In 2002 Sakhnovsky was awarded a Fellowship by the Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers (UK). Since then he has been a finalist for both the National Bestseller Prize (2006) and the Russian Booker Prize (2007) among numerous other awards.

In 2008 his novel The Man Who Knew Everything was turned into a screenplay, directed by V. Mirzoyev.

The Vital Needs of the Dead

This semi-biographical story of ‘sentimental education’ of a young man in a Russian province chronicles his life from childhood to university years, with his first love, to an older woman, his attempt to break out of the provincial morass and the choices he has to make.

Dealing with the complex issues of identity, sexuality and alienation of adolescence, the story of ironical and observant Gosha Sidelnikov is a rich extract of the youth’s restless spirit, full of disappointment, passion and denial.

Translated by Julia Kent. Edited by Nina Chordas.

“One of my readers asked ‘How come you aren’t afraid of writing so openly?’ Actually, I think I have no choice. If a writer isn’t a fraud, he will be nearly naked in his texts, terribly exposed. I really don’t know though how this could be done any other way.” – Igor Sakhnovsky

  • 2002 — Fellowship Hawthornden International Writers Retreat (UK)
  • 2003 — Grand Prix at the Russian Decameron Prize
  • 2003 — Award of the October magazine for the best publication
  • 2006 — finalist of the National Bestseller Prize
  • 2007 — finalist of the Big Book Award and the Russian Booker Prize
  • 2008 — finalist of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s Award


Media about Igor Sakhnovsky

“Sakhnovsky’s writing gives out an impression that there’s nothing more scary, beautiful and fantastic than the so called real life. The sub-title of this work of prose says ‘chronicles’. Not fiction, but real circumstances of one’s own life that Sakhnovsky learned to feel when they line up as if living entities waiting to be noticed, learned to channel into his work from, as it looks to me, Nabokov and perhaps Proust. These lessons, however, did not teach him to mimic his masters.” NEW WORLD MAGAZINE

“.. Igor Sakhnovsky, a novelist with a fine sense of visual beauty, personal eccentricity, and curious ephemera.” THE MORNING NEWS


Speaking Topics
  • Writing & Publishing
  • Psychology
  • Art


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