Maya Kucherskaya

Maya Kucherskaya is a literary critic, professor of literature, and writer of fiction and nonfiction. Moscow born and raised, she studied at Moscow State University and received her PhD at UCLA’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.

Maya Kucherskaya’s highly diverse writings cover fiction—her novel The Rain God won the Student Booker — as well as scholarly works, book reviews, and Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy, a book about Russian Orthodoxy that was translated into English in 2011.

Kucherskaya has worked in other genres, too: she wrote a biography of Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich Romanov for the celebrated Lives of Extraordinary People series, as well as a book of gospel stories for children.

Kucherskaya’s professional interests, as listed on the site of the Higher School of Economics, Moscow, where she teaches, include Nikolai Leskov, Russian mass literature in the second half of the nineteenth century, contemporary Russian prose, and twentieth-century European literature.

Critic Mikhail Vizel, reviewing Faith & Humor for TimeOut Moscow, wrote, “Starting with scandalous tales, the author ably ignites what? Strange as it is to say it: spirituality. She is, after all, not simply a modern humanist, but also a true person of faith. And she speaks of the clergy without catching her breath. For her, they are just a part of normal, everyday life, and not some sort of exotic Orthodox hedgehogs.

Kucherskaya believes “that any novel is autobiographical. All our writings are self-portraits of the soul.”


November 9, 2013
Dmitry Babich talked to Maya Kucherskaya for Russian Profile.

Testing the waters of modern fiction writing, Maya Kucherskaya definitely managed to get a reaction – something she says is tougher today than it was for the Russian greats.