22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Olga Schamborant

Olga Schamborant was born in Moscow in 1945. Since completing her studies in Biology at the state university in Moscow in 1969, she has worked at the Institute for Bioorganic Chemistry (RAN).

She began writing her first poems in early adolescence, an endeavour that her family did not praise, but rather looked down upon slightly. Referring back to this time the author notes that as a child she was already fascinated by the monotonous intonation of Stalinist rhetoric. Her output in the years that followed consisted only of occasional texts, which she nevertheless did not publish because she was afraid of censorship. It was only after Perestroika, in the early 90’s, that she began to continously write prose poems and essays. Some of these were published for first time in 1992 in the ‘Niezavisimaja Gazeta’. Since then her texts have appeared regularly in Russian periodicals like ‘Nowoje Russkoje Slowo’, ‘Nowj Mir’, ‘Postskriptum’, ‘Itogi’ and ‘Rossija’. In addition to her own literary works, she regularly writes literary criticism. Her literary influences include Marina Zwetajewa, Joseph Brodskj, Vladimir Nabokov and Kurt Vonnegut. Her scientific background is apparent in her works – in the microscopic attention with which she diagnoses daily life. Here, her concern is not so much with the events themselves but with taking an in-depth look at life, which unfolds in stages like an experiment. In 1998 she published a book of selected essays entitled ‘Priznaki Schisni’ in St. Petersburg. Her second book ‘Srok godnosti’ includes the essays ‘Svidetelstvo o smerti’ and ‘Tainstvo ili podljanka’ – the latter was written in the wake of the sinking of the Russian submarine ‘Kursk’ in August 2000 – both of which reflect on the post-communist Russian individual’s limited aptitude for learning as far as the subject of mortality is concerned.

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