Mikhail Shishkin

Mikhail Shishkin



The author of widely acclaimed novels, Mikhail Shishkin is admired as a refined stylist whose fiction engages Russian and European literary traditions and forges an equally expansive vision for the future of literature. 

Born January 18, 1961 in Moscow, Shishkin worked as a school teacher and journalist. His writing debut in 1993, the short story Calligraphy Lesson, was named Best Debut of the Year by the literary journal Znamya. In 1995 he moved to Switzerland, where he worked as a Russian and German translator within the Immigration Department and specifically with Asylum Seekers.

In recent years he has been living both in Moscow and Zurich. Shishkin’s first novel, Larionov’s Reminiscences was published in 1994. The two novels which followed earned him the three most prestigious Russian literary awards: The Conquest of Izmail (2000) won the Russian Booker Prize and Venus Hair (Maidenhair) (2005) was awarded both the National Bestseller Prize and the Big Book prize. Shishkin’s novel Letter-Book (2010) has been greeted with delight by readers and reviewers alike, was acclaimed as the Literary Event of the Year, and came top in the 2010 Imhonet Readers’ Prize. (Source: Academia Rossica)


March 22, 2012

By Olga Ro

One of the most prominent names in modern Russian literature, Mikhail Shishkin, will have his novel Maidenhair, translated by Marian Schwartz, published by Open Letter Books at the University of Rochester in October.

January 9, 2012

By Phoebe Taplin

Novelist Mikhail Shishkin, who has won all of Russia’s major literary awards, is just now being recognized in the west as a worthy successor to Russian literary giants. He spoke to Russia Beyond the Headlines’ Phoebe Taplin about writing, politics and how living abroad affects him as a Russian writer. 

November 30, 2011

By Anna Griboedova

Writer Mikhail Shishkin, as is characteristic of “living classics”, is quite focused, exacting and unhurried. He diligently puts out one novel every five years, but each one is highly regarded by readers and critics alike. The winner of numerous literary awards, Shishkin has spent the past 15 years of his life living in Zurich. Recently he visited Moscow, where it was announced that he had won first prize of the Big Book Prize for his most recent novel Letter-Book.