Andrei Bitov is one of the most important Russian writers of the last fifty years, justly famous for his groundbreaking post-modern novel Pushkin House. Born in Leningrad in 1937, Bitov spent the war in evacuation in the Urals and Uzbekistan. After returning to his native city in 1944, Bitov became a geologist, travelling all over the Soviet Union. He started writing short stories in 1959, but did not become a full-time writer until he moved to Moscow in 1963.
International fame arrived with the publication of Pushkin House in America in 1978. Bitov’s novel, described by Frank Kermode as ‘full of fiery intelligence’, is both a densely allusive reflection on the Russian literary tradition and a sharp analysis of the recent Soviet past.
Bitov is now a giant of the literary scene: he has been named a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French government, and been awarded a plethora of prizes, including the Pushkin Prize (1989), the Andrei Belyi Prize (1990), the State Award of the Russian Federation (1997) and the Bunin Prize (2006). His work has been translated into all the world’s major languages.
He was one of the co-founders of the Russian PEN Club and has been its President since 1991. In 2003 he became a vice-president of International PEN. (Source: Academia-Rossica)