Tehran, May 5, IRNA - Russian literature reminds us of iconic figures such as Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, said Elena Erikssen, Russian novelist and director of Navona Publishing Group.
However, this fascinating overview does not always reflect the origin of such rich literature, Erikssen told the English-language newspaper ?Iran Daily? in an exclusive interview published Monday.
Erikssen was elucidating on issues including the condition of Russian literature and the publishing industry with the daily on the sidelines of the ongoing 27th Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF). An excerpt of the interview follows:
Would you please explain the status of Navona Publishing Group in Russia?
This publication is famous for publishing books pertaining to theater and performing arts. Navona also holds art festivals in the country. Our books are not circulated in large numbers, however they are of high quality. Our publications are available in Russia’s top bookstores. They are also offered in London and Paris.
When did you start writing?
I began writing professionally about 20 years ago. I started my writing career in a newspaper. I have been the editor-in-chief and secretary of desks in a well-known Russian magazine for years. I am also involved in writing novels but a major portion of my activities pertains to publication.
What are the genres of your novels?
One of my books titled ‘An Apple in Prison’ is centered on the contemporary political structure of Russia. The apple in this novel is a symbol of those people who are imprisoned for political reasons. The novel is based on a true story. It narrates the factors that led to the death of Moscow’s mayor. The novel also depicts a portion of Russia’s contemporary history. Currently, I am writing another novel about an oil company. It also has political overtones.
As a publisher, how do you evaluate book printing, publishing in Russia? Are Russian books censured?
Russian books are not censured. Currently, there are many publications in Russia. Publishing a book in Russia is not difficult. This general favorable atmosphere has made it possible for other countries’ writers to publish their books in Russia. The only concern pertains to the country’s book reading rate. People are not keen on buying books.
What social factors were effective in the creation of Russia’s great literary works?
Russia’s significant and valuable literature has been affected by social problems and people’s dissatisfaction. Under the influence of these factors, Russian literature has maintained its dynamism. Russia is still struggling with such difficulties. That is why you can still find writers as good as Dostoyevsky in Russia.
What are the prominent features of Russian literature?
Russian literature is very rich because it is affected by philosophical thoughts. It views different issues deeply. The Russian literature makes people think. This feature of Russian literature is attractive enough to attract many readers.
What factors make Russian literature internally known?
Thoughts and great concepts in any literature makes it universal. I think this has happened in Russian literature. What Russian authors have written goes farther than the Russian territory. Their topics deal with serious human concerns. These are a series of universal concepts such as justice and struggle against oppression.
To what extent are Russians familiar with Persian literature?
Renowned Persian poets like Sa’di and Hafez are well-known among the Russian academic society. This is while, the public are not familiar with Persian literature. As a publisher, I am very eager to publish Russian translations of Persian works.I think that cultural events such as the TIBF create grounds for becoming more familiar with Iranian authors.