Andrey Yuryevich Kurkov (Ukrainian: Андрій Юрійович Курков; Russian: Андре́й Ю́рьевич Курко́в) (born 23 April 1961 in Leningrad, Russia) is a Ukrainian novelist who writes in Russian. He is the author of 13 novels and 5 books for children. His work is currently translated into 25 languages, including English, Japanese, French, Italian, Chinese, Swedish and Hebrew. He has also written assorted articles for various publications worldwide.
Life and works
Kurkov's father was a test pilot and his mother was a doctor. He started writing at the age of seven when after the death of two of his three pet hamsters, he wrote a poem about the loneliness of the remaining pet. He also produced poetry about Lenin, purportedly inspired by his Soviet education at the time.
As a trained Japanese translator Kurkov was assigned military service assisting the KGB. However, he managed to get his papers changed to service with the military police. This offered him a greater degree of freedom during and after his service period. He was assigned a prison guard position in Odessa. It was during this period that Kurkov wrote all of his children's stories.
Kurkov's first novel was published two weeks before the fall of the Soviet Union, and in the ensuing social and political turmoil he made the first steps towards self-publishing and distribution. Borrowing money from friends to fund his work he managed to publish independently. While organising distribution around Ukraine, he would also sell copies by hand from stalls on busy streets.
Like many successful writers, Kurkov had difficulty getting his first publishing contract. He reportedly received 500 rejections before being accepted, in which time he had written almost eight complete novels.
Later in his career he won acclaim as one of the most successful Ukrainian authors in the post-Soviet era and featuring on European bestseller lists.
- For children
- The Adventures of Baby Vacuum Cleaner Gosha
- Nicholas Wroe. "A life in books: Andrey Kurkov", The Guardian, 29 July 2011
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- ABC National Radio - A recent interview
- The Ukrainian Observer: Andrey Kurkov: Ukraine's Literary Success
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