February 21, 1943 |
Davlekanovo, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Genre||Fiction, script writing|
The Funeral Party
Medea and Her Children
Daniel Stein, Interpreter
Lyudmila Evgenyevna Ulitskaya (Russian: Людмила Евгеньевна Улицкая, born February 21, 1943) is one of the most widely read and internationally acclaimed modern Russian novelist and short-story writer who, in 2014, was awarded the prestigious Austrian State Prize for European Literature for her oeuvre. In 2006 she published Daniel Stein, Translator (Даниэль Штайн, переводчик), a novel dealing with the Holocaust and the need for reconciliation between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Ulitskaya was born in the town of Davlekanovo in Bashkiria and grew up in Moscow where she took a degree in genetics from the Moscow State University. Having worked in the field of genetics and biochemistry, Ulitskaya began her literary career by joining the Jewish drama theatre as a literary consultant. Her first published short fiction appeared in 1990. Today, Lyudmila Ulitskaya divides her time between Moscow and Israel.
In her fiction, Ulitskaya seemingly describes and observes her characters at an equal distance from each one. Rather than going in for character development or delving into the tortured workings of her characters’ psyches otherwise perceived as the hallmark of Russian writing, Ulitskaya favors capsule descriptions, though she acknowledges that tortured her characters are. Generally speaking, she makes little use of dialogue. Masha Gessen, in her tribute article in The New Yorker in October 2014, finds that Ulitskaya's writing makes compelling, addictive reading. Gessen reports that she was driven entirely by the desire to learn what happens next.
Aming her interlinked themes are: the need for religious and ethnic tolerance; the problem of the intelligentsia in Soviet culture; how women shape new gender roles in society; everyday life as a literary subject; and new images of the body (the sexual body, handicapped body, etc.).
Ulitskaya authored two movie scripts produced in the early 1990s: The Liberty Sisters (Сестрички Либерти, 1990) and A Woman for All (Женщина для всех, 1991). She regularly publishes commentary on social issues and is actively involved in philanthropic projects increasing access to literature. In March 2014 Ulitskaya was among the key speakers at the Moscow Anti-War demonstration.
Ulitskaya's first novella, Sonechka (Сонечка), published in Novy Mir in 1992, almost immediately became extremely popular, and was shortlisted for the Russian Booker Award. Her works have been translated into several languages including English, and received several international and Russian literary awards, including the Russian Booker for Kukotsky's Case (Казус Кукоцкого) (2001). Ulitskaya was the first woman to receive this distinguished prize.
In Germany her novels have been added to bestseller lists thanks to the featuring of her works on a television program hosted by literary critic Elke Heidenreich. Today her writing is much admired by the general reading public and critics in Russia and many other countries.
- Penne Prize (1997, Italy)
- Medici Prize (1998, France)
- Giuseppe Acerbi Award it:Premio Letterario Giuseppe Acerbi (1998, Italy) for her novel Sonechka
- Russian Booker Prize (2002, Russia) for the novel Kukotsky Case
- Chevalier of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (2003, France)
- Novel of the Year Prize (2004, Russia) for the novel Sincerely yours, Shurik
- Best Writer of the Year Ivanushka Prize (2004, Russia)
- Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2004, France)
- National Literature Prize for Sincerely yours, Shurik (2005, China)
- Penne Prize (2006, Italy) for the novel Kukotsky Case
- National Olympia Prize of Russian Academy of Business (2007, Russia)
- National Literary Prize BIG BOOK (2007, Russia) for the novel Daniel Stein, Translator
- Father Alexander Men Award (2008, Germany-Russia)
- 2009 Man Booker International Prize nominee (along with 14 authors from 12 different countries: Mario Vargas Llosa, E.L Doctorow and 2001 Nobel Prize in Literature winner V. S. Naipaul)
- Simone de Beauvoir Prize (2011, France)
- Pak Kyong-ni Prize (2012, South Korea)
- Austrian State Prize for European Literature (2014, Austria)
- Officer of the Legion of Honor
- Sonechka (Сонечка, 1995)
- Medea and Her Children (Медея и ее дети, 1996)
- The Funeral Party (Веселые похороны, 1997)
- Kukotsky's Case (Казус Кукоцкого, 2001)
- Women's Lies (Russian title 'Through Line', Сквозная линия, 2003)
- Sincerely Yours, Shurik (Искренне Ваш Шурик, 2003)
- The People of Our Tsar (Люди нашего царя, Moscow, 2005)
- Daniel Stein, Interpreter (Даниэль Штайн, переводчик, Moscow, 2006)
- Russian Jam and Other Plays (Русское варенье и другое, Moscow, 2008)
- Imago (Russian title 'Green Tent', Зеленый шатер, 2010)
- Kukotsky's Case full text (Russian)
- Masha Gessen, The Weight of Words. One of Russia’s most famous writers confronts the state, in: The New Yorker, 6 October 2014
- Andrey Kurkov in: "Das kann ein bisschen mehr Anarchie mitbringen". Ukraine im Gespräch, part 4: Andrej Kurkow im Gespräch mit Katja Petrowskaja, Essay und Diskurs, Deutschlandfunk, 28 December 2014, German
- Lyudmila Ulitskaya: why I'm not afraid of Vladimir Putin
- Russian Booker Literary Prize official site
- Ulitskaya's article on Solzhenitsyn in the Moscow News
- Ulitskaya's short autobiography and interview (Russian)
- A brief review of The Funeral Party – Ulitskaya's debut in the US
- Ulitskaya's page on her literary agent's website (ELKOST Intl. Literary Agency)