In Memory of Memory – Maria Stepanova
Translated by Sasha Dugdale
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With the death of her aunt, Maria Stepanova is left to sift through an apartment full of faded photographs, old postcards, letters, diaries, and heaps of souvenirs: a withered repository of a century of life in Russia. Carefully reassembled with calm, steady hands, these shards tell the story of how a seemingly ordinary Jewish family somehow managed to survive the myriad persecutions and repressions of the last century. In dialogue with writers like Roland Barthes, W. G. Sebald, Susan Sontag and Osip Mandelstam, In Memory of Memory is imbued with rare intellectual curiosity and a wonderfully soft-spoken, poetic voice. Dipping into various forms – essay, fiction, memoir, travelogue and historical documents – Stepanova assembles a vast panorama of ideas and personalities and offers an entirely new and bold exploration of cultural and personal memory.
About the Author
Maria Stepanova, born in Moscow in 1972, is one of the most powerful and distinctive voices of Russia’s first post-Soviet literary generation. An award-winning poet and prose writer, essayist, and journalist, Stepanova is the author of ten poetry collections and three books of essays. Her poems have been translated into numerous languages including English, Italian, German, French, and Hebrew. She has received several Russian and international literary awards, including the prestigious Andrey Bely Prize and Joseph Brodsky Fellowship. Her novel In Memory of Memory is a documentary novel that has been published in over 17 territories. It won the 2018 Bolshaya Kniga Award, an annual Russian literary prize presented for the best book of Russian prose, and the 2019 “NOS” Literature Prize. Stepanova is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the online independent crowd-sourced journal Colta, which covers the cultural, social and political reality of contemporary Russia, reaching audiences of nearly a million visitors a month.
Poet, playwright, and translator SASHA DUGDALE was born in Sussex, England. She has worked as a consultant for theater companies in addition to writing her own plays. From 1995 to 2000, she worked for the British Council in Russia. She is author of the poetry collections Joy (2017), winner of the 2017 Poetry Book Society Winter Choice Award; Red House (2011); The Estate (2007); and Notebook (2003). Dugdale’s honors include the SOA Cholmondeley Award and the 2016 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (for “Joy”).
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