© Hartwig Klappert

Andrey Kurkov was born in Budugošč’ near Leningrad (today St. Petersburg) in 1961. He graduated from the National Pedagogical Institute for Foreign Languages in Kyiv in 1983. Kurkov speaks seven languages and has worked in a number of different professions.

He started writing when he was still at school, and has penned various novels and five children’s books to date. His honors include the Nikolai Gogol Prize (2012) awarded in Rome and the Readers’ Prize of the European Literature Festival in Cognac. Early works such as »Smert’ postoronnego« (1996; tr: Picnic on the Ice , »Dobryj angel smerti« (2000; Eng. »The Good Angel of Death«, 2010) and »Milyj drug, tovarišč pokojnika« (2001; tr: Friend of the Dead) are crime novels that paint a moral picture of Kyiv in the post-Perestroika period. Their heroes are usually animals or lonely outsiders who fail in a demoralized and selfish society. Atypically for the genre, Kurkov’s detective stories are told in a calm narrative flow, and the mood of the novels is predominantly melancholic. He also writes social novels that raise political and philosophical questions. »Poslednjaja ljubov’ presidenta« (2005; Eng. »The President’s Last Love«, 2009) is about the fictitious Ukrainian President Bunin, whose ability to act fails him as he is manipulated by his advisors. The grotesque tale brings to mind dubious figures in recent Ukrainian history such as Victor Juščenko and Julia Timošenko. The short stories in his anthology »Herbstfeuer « (2007) (tr. Autumn Fire) are equally playful and full of the black humor that distinguishes Kurkov’s prose. Kurkov’s novel »Nočnoj moločnik« (2007, Eng. »The Milkman in the Night«, 2011) once again reflects the absurdities of Kyiv’s everyday life. The love story, which is simultaneously a black comedy, a detective novel, and a social satire, is about people from the Ukrainian middle class trying to make a decent living in the suburbs of the capital by offering all kinds of services. In his novel »Skazanie ob istinno narodnom kontrolere« (tr: The People’s Controller), the story of Pavel Dobrynin blurs the boundaries between the real and the imagined as his protagonist is unexpectedly elected the lifelong »Controller of the People of the Soviet Union«, meeting the most colorful of personalities on his journeys.

Kurkov has written over twenty screenplays and works as a scriptwriter for the National Film Studio A. Dovženko in Kyiv. Through the lens of his surreal and satirical prose, he offers a prescient, verging on prophetical perspective on the post-Soviet conditions of his home. In  »Ukraine Diaries: Dispatches from Kiev« (2014)  he reports on Euromaidan. In the surreal »The Bickford Fuse« (2017), he explores the phenomenon of the ›Homo Sovieticus‹. His most recent novel, »Cartography of Freedom« (2018), is about the lives of Ukrainian migrants in Western Europe.

Picknick auf dem Eis
Diogenes
Zürich, 1999
[Ü: Christa Vogel]

Petrowitsch
Diogenes
Zürich, 2002
[Ü: Christa Vogel]

Die letzte Liebe des Präsidenten
Diogenes
Zürich, 2007
[Ü: Sabine Grebing]

Der wahrhaftige Volkskontrolleur
Haymon
Innsbruck, 2011
[Ü: Kerstin Monschein]

Der unbeugsame Papagei
Haymon
Innsbruck, 2013
[Ü: Sabine Grebing]

Ukrainisches Tagebuch

Aufzeichnungen aus dem Herzen des Protests
Haymon
Innsbruck, 2014
[Ü: Steffen Beilich]

Jimi Hendrix live in Lemberg
Diogenes
Zürich, 2014
[Ü: Johanna Marx und Sabine Grebing]

Die Kugel auf dem Weg zum Helden
Haymon
Innsbruck, 2015
[Ü: Claudia Dathe]

Die Welt des Herrn Bickford
Haymon
Innsbruck, 2017
[Ü: Claudia Dathe]

Kartografie der Freiheit
Haymon-Verlag
Innsbruck, 2018
[Ü: Claudia Dathe]