Born in 1961, Schischkin’s acclaimed, multi-translated Maiden Hair was published in 2006. Staged in Moscow, the book scooped up awards across Russian and international literature circles. Schischkin splits his time between Moscow and Switzerland.
Describe yourself with three words starting with the same letter.
Reckless Russian reader.
When/where do you write?
At home, in the morning after my cup of coffee, one novel in five years.
Your favourite character?
My favourite character is ‘ы’, the vowel that exists only in the Russian language. If you can pronounce it correctly it will give you one point in getting Russian citizenship.
What’s the most difficult – starting or finishing the book?
Starting is always more difficult. The feeling that I go forward and suddenly can see my own back disturbs me a lot. The only way is to outrun myself.
Complete the phrase: “I got out of the train in Berlin and standing on the platform was…”
…like being on another planet. I remember this feeling very well – summer 1989, the first time I got the visa and came to western Europe, behind the Iron Curtain. I was absolutely shocked. Then I went to the Bahnhof Zoo toilet. And suddenly the feeling of reality came back to me – people are the same everywhere!
Choose a famous person and recommend to her/him any reading available today.
I would recommend to a modern tyrant such as Lukashenko, The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Tolstoy.
Berlin rhymes with…
Sep 12, 20:30, “Michail Schischkin tells stories from a century of Russian history”