Writing and Publishing in Time of War: Andrey Kurkov to Open the 2022 U.S. Book Show

PEN Ukraine President and Author of Grey Bees Speaks to the Global Book Community
Andrey Kurkov
Andrey Kurkov

NEW YORK—May 3, 2022—Andrey Kurkov, the renowned Ukrainian author of Grey Bees and president of PEN Ukraine, will give the opening keynote address at the U.S. Book Show. With a theme of writing and publishing in time of war, Kurkov will open the virtual trade book fair in conversation with Edward Nawotka, Publishers Weekly‘s international editor. The opening keynote, which will be in English, will take place on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. ET.

“Andrey Kurkov’s work has always been visionary and is as relevant now as it has ever been. He offers the world a poignant view of life in Ukraine,” said Nawotka. “His work is darkly humorous in a way that only an observer with Kurkov’s global understanding—and bird’s-eye view—could provide.”

The author of 19 novels, a dozen of which have been translated into English, nine children’s books and 20 movie and television scripts, Kurkov became known on the world stage with his international bestseller Death and the Penguin, a bleak portrait of post-Soviet Ukraine. The English translation was published in 2001, and since then the book has been translated into 30+ languages.

Kurkov’s most recent novel, Grey Bees (Deep Vellum, 2022), translated by from the Russian by Boris Dralyuk, takes place in the “grey zone” of the Ukraine, between the Ukrainian loyalist and the pro-Russian separatist regions in the east, with the last remaining two men in a small town—a retired safety inspector turned beekeeper and a rival from his schooldays, old friends and yet on opposite sides of the conflict. Publishers Weekly, in its review, called it “heartwarming and bittersweet…a wistful elegy for a nation being slowly torn apart.”

In addition to his novels, Ukraine Diaries: Dispatches from Kiev gave us reportage in 2014 from the capitol city from a view out his window as the Ukrainian president was being impeached, Crimea was being invaded by Russia and the separatist uprising was at its peak.

Andrey Kurkov, who writes in Russian, was born near Leningrad in 1961 and raised from the age of two in the Ukraine. His father was a test pilot and his mother was a physician. A series of fateful steps led him from Kyiv to Odessa where he worked in a prison and back to Kyiv working as a journalist, cameraman and writer of screenplays. His first books were self published and garnered hundreds of rejections before finding a home in traditional media. He became known to international media as a commentator and journalist, resulting in Ukraine Diaries.

Kurkov lived until recently in Kyiv with his British wife and their three children. He is now staying outside Kyiv as the Russian invasion into Ukraine continues.

The U.S. Book Show (#USBookShow) will run online from May 23–26, 2022. The show focuses on Fall 2022 books and will feature an array of speakers; editor, book and author panels; international publishing roundtables; topical library and bookseller panels; professional programming geared to publishers; networking opportunities and awards celebrations; and a robust virtual exhibit hall with galley giveaways and more.

Booksellers, librarians and members of the media are invited to register for the virtual trade fair at no charge. Members of the media may apply for virtual press passes on the show’s press page.

For more information about the show and registration, visit https://www.usbookshow.com.

Andrey Kurkov is available for interviews in the United States and via Zoom from Ukraine.

High-res images, Grey Bees cover and Andrey Kurkov headshots, available here. (Dropbox link)

For more information, contact Christi Cassidy, +1-917-217-4269, ccassidy@publishersweekly.com.

About Publishers Weekly
Now celebrating its 150th anniversary, Publishers Weekly is the international news platform of the book publishing industry. Founded in 1872 and published weekly since then, the magazine boasts 1.23 million social media followers; publishes 10 e-newsletters, BookLife (a website and monthly supplement), Publishers Weekly en Español (in partnership with Lantia), an Arabic edition, two blogs, podcasts, a mobile edition, digital editions, and apps; and features a thriving website that reaches 14 million unique visitors annually.