Andrey Yuryevich Kurkov (Ukrainian: Андрій Юрійович Курков; Russian: Андре́й Ю́рьевич Курко́в; born 23 April 1961 in Leningrad - now, St Petersburg, Russia) is a Ukrainian novelist and an independent thinker who writes in Russian. He is the author of 18 novels, including the bestselling Death and the Penguin, 7 books for children, and about 20 documentary, fiction and TV movie scripts. His work is currently translated into 35 languages, including English, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Swedish and Hebrew, and published in 65 countries. Kurkov who has long been a respected commentator on Ukraine for the international media, notably in Europe and the United States, has written assorted articles for various publications worldwide. His books are full of black humour, post-Soviet reality and elements of surrealism.
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.
Having graduated from the Kiev Foreign Languages Institute, and 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.
Kurkov lives in Kiev with his English wife, Elizabeth, and their three children.
- Novels translated to English
|Book name||ISBN (Paperback)||Publication year|
|Death and the Penguin||ISBN 978-1-86046-945-9 (ISBN 1860469450)||2001|
|Penguin Lost||ISBN 9780099461692(ISBN 0099461692)||2005|
|A Matter of Death and Life||ISBN 9780099461586(ISBN 0099461587)||2005|
|The Penguin Novels||ISBN 978-0099507062 (ISBN 0099507064)||2006|
|The Case of the General's Thumb||ISBN 9780099455257(ISBN 0099455250)||2009|
|The World of Mr Big Forehead|
|The President's Last Love||ISBN 9780099485049(ISBN 0099485044)||2009|
|The Good Angel of Death||ISBN 9780099513490(ISBN 0099513498)||2010|
|The Milkman in the Night||ISBN 9781846553981(ISBN 1846553989)||2011|
|The Gardener from Ochakov||ISBN 9781846556159(ISBN 1846556155)||2013|
|Ukraine Diaries: Dispatches from Kiev||ISBN 9781846559471||2014|
- For children
- The Adventures of Baby Vacuum Cleaner Gosha
- "Radio Liberty interview with Andrey Kurkov". Retrieved 2015-10-01.
- Nicholas Wroe (30 July 2011). "A life in books: Andrey Kurkov". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Andrey Kurkov.|
- ABC National Radio - A recent interview
- The Ukrainian Observer: Andrey Kurkov: Ukraine's Literary Success
- Freedom Lecture: Andrey Kurkov @ De Balie, Amsterdam
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