Summer 2010

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Program Updates





-05/09/05 - We are sorry to report that Mary Gaitskill will not be joining us in Russia this year. She has canceled because of a personal matter. But we are very pleased to announce that in her place, and on very late notice, Jonathan Dee - staff writer for The New York Times Magazine, author of the novel Palladio, and a much-admired instructor in the writing programs at Columbia and The New School - will teach the first session fiction workshop.

-04/05/05 - The 2005 SLS/Fence Contest Winners have been chosen: First place in Fiction, Diane Greco for "Alberto, A Case History"; First place in Poetry, Deborah Bernhardt for "Apology Is Red Up Like This," "There Is No Towards," and "Scanning, With The Eye". Click on contest to read about all the winners.

-04/04/05 - The New York Times calls SLS 2005 Writer-in-Residence William T. Vollmann's new novel, Europe Central, set in large part in the former Soviet Union, his best book yet. Read about it here.

-03/29/05 - While we are sorry to report that Jonathan Lethem has had to postpone his attendance at SLS Russia for one year for personal issues, Stephen Elliott, author of four novels, including last year's smash Happy Baby will be teaching a fiction workshop.

-03/08/05 - all entries are in for The 2005 Summer Literary Seminarss Fiction and Poetry Contests, in Affiliation with Fence Magazine. Winners of the contest will be announced by April 6th. Please go here for contest details.

-02/21/05 - New pictures added to the 2003 and 2004 Snapshot galleries - stay tuned for more, and please send yours in, if you haven't already - we'd like to keep this good tradition going!

-01/15/05 - We would like to welcome the newest addition to our illustrious roster of SLS 2005 Editors-in-Residence: Fiona Maazel, the Managing Editor of The Paris Review. We are delighted to have her on board.

-12/14/04 - The essay collection Amerika: Russian Writers View the United States (Dalkey Archive Press, 2004), edited by Mikhail Iossel and Jeff Parker, gets a favorable review by The Moscow Times. Read the full text of the review here (in English).

-12/08/04 - SLS is happy to announce its participation in the annual Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival - one of the largest in North America. Some of the world's most acclaimed writers and poets will attend its 2005 program, including several permanent SLS faculty members (Josip Novakovich, Binyavanga Wainaina, others TBA). The dates: March 30 - April 4, 2005. For more information, as it becomes available, please visit the Blue Met website: We'll be
there - come join us in the continent's grooviest city!

-10/18/04 - Kenya's Art Scene comes to life with recent Government Support -- Featuring SLS 04/05 faculty member Binyavanga Wainana: read about it in Newsweek.

-10/16/04 - SLS happily announces the inclusion of William Vollmann in the SLS 2005 Faculty. He will be attending as a guest lecturer and speaking on his current writings (involving Russia!) and other projects.

-10/09/04 - SLS joins in mourning the family of Jacques Levy, an educator, a theater director and a lyricist, who lit up SLS 2003 with the stories and lyrics he and Bob Dylan wrote together. His many accomplishments as a writer for the stage and many other venues are recounted in a New York Times obituary available here. He died Thursday, October 7, 2004.

-10/03/04 - SLS 2005 tentative faculty announced; many more to follow.

-10/03/04 - Dmitry Kuzmin (a frequent SLS lecturer), Yekaterina Sadur, and Alexander Ulanov visit the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Read about it in The Moscow Times.

-10/02/04 - An SLS lecturer Andrei Zorin (with Alexei Khanutin) films a movie based on his famous lectures about the mythology of Vodka. Read about it Russian Version in

-9/19/04 - The New York Times loves longtime SLS faculty member Josip Novakovich's new novel! Read their review here.

-9/10/04 - Linor Goralik, an SLS lecturer, has published a collection of jottings on everything from cat food to the future of Russian literature. Click here to read about it in The Moscow Times.

-5/26/04 - Dalkey Archive Press has published Amerika: Essays by Russian Writers on the U.S., edited by SLS directors Mikhail Iossel and Jeff Parker. A table of contents, the contributors notes, and additional essays from this volume are available here.

-4/25/04 - SLS is pleased to announce that poet and translator Mark Halperin will be returning to SLS this year. In the second session he will be teaching the translation workshop as well as a mini-workshop on prosody.

-4/25/04 - The SLS Handbook and visa application instructions are now available online at this link--the detailed SLS 2004 schedule soon to follow.

-4/24/04 - Attention all 2004 SLS participants, please make sure your passports have been FAXed to the SLS office by now.

-4/05/04 - We're saddened to announce that one of the oldest and closest friends of SLS, Josip Novakovich, will be unable to participate in this summer's program. We wish him a wealth of literary inspiration in the months ahead -- and look forward to seeing him again soon: in Russia, in Kenya, in New York, in State College... and elsewhere.

We couldn't be happier to announce that the second-session fiction workshop this summer will be led by one of our favorite American writers -- John Dufresne.

-4/01/04 - All right, the contest winners are in. Out of a staggering amount--more than 900 entries total!--Fence editors have selected as the winner of the 2004 poetry contest Laura Sims' poem "'Winter in You'" and as the fiction contest winner Kenneth Calhoun's "An Account of the Advance at Northgate". Read more about the contest and the full winners list on our contests page.

-03/06/04 - SLS is pleased to announce the writer Laurie Stone has joined our 2004 faculty and will be teaching Creative Nonfiction in the second session.

-02/26/04 - New pictures added to the snapshots section -- keep checking for new additions!

-02/20/04 - Unfortunately Fence editor Rebecca Wolff will be unable to make it to SLS 2004. In her place, Anthony Hawley, Fence Fiction Editor, will be joining us.

-01/21/04 - A reminder that the fiction and poetry contests postmark deadlines are approaching. Get your entries in by Feb. 28 -- first prize in each category is publication in Fence and free tuition, airfare, and accommodations at SLS St. Petersburg, Russia, 2004.

-11/23/03 - Dmitry Golynko-Volfson's insightful commentary "Letters from Russia", and John O'Brien's thought-provoking answer to "...A Simple Question: Why are there so few literary translations published each year in the United States, and what can be done about this cultural travesty?" can be found in the 14th online edition of CONTEXT - A Forum for Literary Arts and Culture, a Center for Book Culture publication.

-11/13/03 - More pictures added to the snapshots section -- many others to come shortly. Send yours in, if you haven't already!

-10/26/03 - Book Magazine writes about SLS with interviews of past faculty Aimee Bender and Jonathan Ames.

-10/22/03 - SLS is pleased to announce the editors-in-residence for our St. Petersburg seminars in 2004: Deborah Treisman, fiction editor of The New Yorker, and Andre Bernard, Vice President and Publisher of Harcourt Inc., will be joining Jill Bialosky, Vice President and Senior Editor at W.W. Norton, and Rebecca Wolff, Editor and Founder of Fence.

-9/01/03 - New pictures have been added to the snapshots section. More to come.

-8/29/03 - SLS would like to warmheartedly thank Rob Spillman and the crew at Tin House magazine who have judged and published the winners (and many runners-up) of our contest the past two years. The magazine has decided not to participate in the contest this year because of the workload its new book imprint requires. Acknowledging Tin House's shoes (pages? covers?) are prestigious ones to fill, we are pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with the best possible alternative in Fence Magazine! Fence will publish the winners of the 2004 contest, and head editor Rebecca Wolff will be participating in the seminars. We at SLS are delighted about this new affiliation, having long recognized Fence among the ranks of Tin House and a few select other magazines as the finest literary journals in the country.

-8/06/03 - The Philadelphia Inquirer book critic Carlin Romano's article A City of Writers That Still Inspires about the 2003 SLS Russia program was published today.

-4/20/03 - The New York Times devoted its Sunday travel section to St. Petersburg's 300th Anniversary: St. Petersburg's Regilded Age; Espresso and Expression; Everywhere, 'In Honor of the 300th'

-4/14/03 - The results of the 2003 SLS Contest are in!

-3/22/03 - The Summer Literary Seminarss Evening in New York was quite an evening indeed. About 50 people showed up for what turned out to be a interesting abbreviated performance by past and present SLS faculty. Those who split early missed the hilarious presentation by dissident artist Vitaly Komar about the artistic predilections of various nations.

-3/13/03 - Come On Out To Summer Literary Seminarss Evening in New York with Ed Hirsch, Russian-American artist Vitaly Komar, literary bluesman Arthur Flowers, SLS program director Mikhail Iossel and Mikhail Iampolski. The show is a benefit for SLS programs and a $10 donation is gently requested at the door. Thursday March 13, at 7 p.m. at The Russian Samovar (upper level), 256 W 52nd St, New York City, (212) 757-0168. SLS program coordinators will be available to answer questions about the programs. Click to view the flyer in PDF format.

-1/28/03 - We are also announcing today the extension of the postmark deadline date for the Tin House fiction and poetry contests to March 10, 2003. There was, as it turns out, a mix-up in an advertisement placed for the contest necessitating this change. The announcement date will also be pushed back slightly.

-1/28/03 - We are pleased to announce that Martin Riker, a senior editor from Dalkey Archive Press will be attending the Russia program in 2003. He will be joining Tin House editors Rob Spillman and Amy Bartlett is discussing publishing during several lectures. Check the faculty page for info on Riker.

-THE DEADLINE APPROACHES for the Tin House fiction and poetry contests. Postmark your entries by March 10, 2003.

-1/23/03 - SLS will be in attendance in New York City Tuesday, January 28th for a reading by SLS faculty member Arkadii Dragomoshchenko and past SLS participant Genya Turovsky at The BBR Reading series at Bar Reis. We'll also be at Lincoln Center January 31-Feb. 1 for readings by many of our faculty members at an event coordinated by Maria Sozzani Brodsky to highlight the poetry of the late-Soviet underground. Reading will be: Natalya Gorbanevskaya, Timur Kibirov, Evgenii Rein, Lev Rubenstein, Vladimir Ufliand, Lev Losev, Yuz Aleshkovsky, rkadii Dragomoshchenko, Kostantin Kuzminsky, Dmitrii Prigov, Elena Shvarts, and Vladimir Gandelsman. English translations will be read by Mark Strand, Cyntia Zarin, and Glyn Maxwell. (See the announcements section to the right of the screen for further details.)

-10/04/02 - Easily considered one of the most important living American writers, considered by some the reincarnation of William Faulkner himself, Barry Hannah has joined the SLS 2003 team as Writer-in-Residence. Read about him on the faculty page.

-10/01/02 - We are pleased to announce that playwright Jack Gelber, long-time faculty member of Brooklyn College, has joined the SLS faculty for 2003. He will teach playwriting.

-9/22/02 - Our new website redesign is currently up and running with some soon-to-be filled-in holes. We hope you like. Please look around. There is lots of new content and information on the 2003 program.

-9/7/02 - Notice, if you will, our website redesign is not yet up as promised. We are sorry about this. Really, truly, we are. Our volunteer staff is working through the night to make it happen and we hope to have it done very early next week. For now, we offer you the following to tide you over: The 2003 Contest Rules; Just some of the photos from the 2002 sessions; Multimedia of the fabulous Dmitry Prigov reading at the Akhmatova Museum during the 2002 sessions; An updated faculty list with still more to come...Please check back soon.

-The 2002 program was a big success, a "breakthrough" year actually. Watch our site for a major overhaul, video and audio material, faculty announcements, snapshots, etc. Next year, the 2003 program, will be one of the most memorable in St. Petersburg's recent history: 300 years. We've been able to secure and even expand our present accommodations in the heart of the heart of the city--the city legendary for its lack of accommodations. Apply early--it will be competitive.

-The 2003 faculty list is growing: Jeffrey Renard Allen, Robert Arellano, Aimee Bender, Mary Caponegro, Andrei Codrescu, Robert Coover, Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, Phillip Lopate, Ben Marcus, Josip Novakovich, Robert Olmstead, Michael Palmer, Padgett Powell, Dmitry Prigov, Rob Spillman, Elissa Schappell...

-The call has gone out for the Third Annual Tin House/Summer Literary Seminars Fiction and Poetry Contest. First prize winner in each category has the winning entry published in Tin House and wins plane fare, accommodations, and tuition to SLS Russia 2003. Second place wins free tuition to SLS, and third place gets a partial tuition scholarship. Contest deadline: Feb. 15, 2003. Full details will be posted on the website revamp Sept. 1.

-Attention 2002 participants, make sure to send your snapshots by email to If you're not digital send them to our snail mail address. We'll scan them and send them back ASAP. Thanks to those of you who've already sent in pics: Emily Rubin, The Creeleys, and SLS St. Pete program assistant Lena! We're also looking for any volunteers to contribute Alumni Experiences for 2003. Takers? Email them to



Letter from Russia: Contemporary Émigré Writing (Context) 03/10/05

SLS faculty member William T. Vollmann reviews the new biography of Pol Pot in the NYTBR (NYT) 03/01/05

An article on SLS
Co-Director Mikhail Iossel
(CTR) 02/15/05

Emphasizing Creativity, Not Collectivity (NYT) 02/05/05

Putin Praises Coppola's Films (AP) 01/30/05

Russian New Yorker Clone Closed (MT) 01/17/05

Critic's Notebook: Pioneering Russian Films Show Ballet Master's Wit (NYT) 01/15/05

One of our favorite American writers dies. Read the New York Times Obituary for Guy Davenport (NYT) 01/07/05

The Saturday Profile: A Russian Rabbi Teaches Jews, First Off, to Be Jews (NYT) 12/18/04

Emigre writer Vassily Aksyonov retakes the Moscow literary scene by storm (MT) 12/17/04

Writers' Bloc: Is Russia's only creative writing program a Soviet-era fiction factory or a wellspring of literary innovation? (MT) 12/10/04

Zmeinogorsk Journal; Scare Is Over, and Siberia Won't Glow in the Dark (NYT) 11/22/04

Where Is Home, When the Place You Come From No Longer Exists? (NYT) 11/21/04

Gorbachev Awards Cat Stevents a Peace Prize in Rome (NYT) 11/10/04

Russian Gal Seeking Comrade? No, It's an Internet Scam (NYT) 11/03/04

The Hooligans of Old Petersburg -- a historical article by Lev Lurie, the leading historian of the city (Russian Version) (NZ) 10/03/04

Fund for Terror Act Victims in Beslan 09/04/04

It's Russian for Luxe (NYT) 08/15/04

Butterflies and Other Bits of Nabokov's Life, Dispersed to the Wind (NYT) 05/06/04

Nyet to Barbie (NYT) 05/02/04

The Great Russian Smoke-Out, Fit for Seventh Graders (NYT) 04/23/04

Is National Poetry Month inane or inspirational? (Newsweek) 04/12/04

Hollywood Competes With the Street in Russia (NYT) 04/07/04

The Composer and the Dictator (NYT) 04/04/04

Billionaire's Letter From a Russian Prison Cell (NYT) 04/03/04

Russia's New Rich Amass Art Collections
(NYT) 03/29/04

Poetry Wars (TMT) 03/20/04

Putin’s Dubious Allure: "He’s Not Making Things Worse" (NYT) 03/09/04

March 8th is International Women's Day, a Major Holiday Celebrated in Russia (F&P) 03/08/04

Russian Industrialist Buys Fabled Forbes Fabergé Eggs (NYT) 02/04/04

Handmade Versions Of Soviet History (WP) 01/11/04

The Lairs of Russian Literary Lions (NYT) 12/14/03

'Pushkin': Aleksandr the Great (NYT) 11/16/03

Kissing Ban Considered for Moscow Metro (CNN) 11/07/03

Crime and Pulp (Slate) 11/03/03

Russian Film Week In NYC! 10/23/03

Russia's Favorite Drink Turns 500 (CNN) 10/10/03

To Young, a Russian Enclave Is Too Much the Old Country (New York Times) 10/08/03

Russia and Germany: A Reunion of Bookworms (New York Times) 10/08/03

President Bush Pens A Poem (CNN) 10/04/03

World Pelemeni Championship and Other Events in NYC (IFOCE) 10/01/03

Russian Ballerina Must Be Reinstated! (New York Times) 10/01/03

First Lady Talks of Freedom in Moscow (New York Times) 10/01/03

Like a Children's Author, for the Very First Time (New York Times) 9/30/03

George Plimpton, Urbane and Witty Writer, Dies at 76 (New York Times) 9/26/03

Ban on Russian Ads Depicting Euro Having Sex With Dollar (Ananova) 9/24/03

A Severe Case of Painters' Blok (The St. Petersburg Times) 9/19/03

Russia's Muzzled Democracy (The Christian Science Monitor) 9/09/03

Men Marry, With and Without a Church Blessing (New York Times) 9/09/03

Real - Life Russian Tragedy Wins Venice Top Prize (New York Times) 9/06/03

Russia Turns From Old Allies to U.S. (Washington Post) 8/27/03

A City of Writers That Still Inspires (Philadelphia Inquirer) 8/06/03

Baryshnikov Will Play Heartthrob in 'Sex and the City' (New York Times) 7/30/03

Young, Russian, and Rich - for Now at Least (New York Times) 7/29/03)

A Russian Intellectual Turns To Crime Fiction (New York Times) 5/17/03

More Students in Writing Programs Expect (And Get) Hollywood Offers (New York Times) 5/17/03

St. Petersburg's Regilded Age; Espresso and Expression; Everywhere, 'In Honor of the 300th' (New York Times - Travel Section) 4/20/03

Poets Pit Pens Against Swords (New York Times)

Anti-Semitism, Not Poetry (Washington Post) 8/02

Gogol's Nose Goes Missing (Poets & Writers)



SPECIAL PRE-SALE OFFER FOR CHINESE SUN: only $10 if you purchase now - we ship it to you for free before the official release date.

by Arkadii Dragomoshchenko
translated by Evgeny Pavlov
Eastern European Poets Series #9
328 pages, letterpress covers, paperback, $15

Your pre-sale purchase will help fund the publication of this long-awaited prose work by Arkadii Dragomoshchenko.

order on-line at
go to "upcoming books".


send a check for $10 to:

Ugly Duckling Presse
106 Ferris Street, 2nd Floor,
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(please include a note about the quantity of books you want and the address we should send it to).

We are saddened to learn that one of the great American poets and a friend of SLS has died, Robert White Creeley. Read his obituary in Newsday.

The New York times book review on the new novel by Sam Lipsyte, SLS/St.Petersburg-05 faculty member.

C.K. Williams, former SLS faculty member, in the New York Times.

Check out Six Billion, the online magazine of narrative journalism run in part by SLS alum and SLS print designer Nathan Deuel. The magazine's new issue "Battleground States" brings together work from states and lives in turmoil. Contributors include "Najma Abdullah," a 16-year-old girl reporting from Mosul, Marjane Satrapi, with graphic reportage from Iran, and Boys Don't Cry writer/director Kimberly Peirce, who offers footage from Ohio.

December 23, 2004 - The first international literary conference "Writers-Cum-Veterans: From Afghanistan To Chechnya" opened at the house of journalists in Petersburg. Read about it in Novosti.

An Open Call For Submissions:

Accents and Voices, a multicultural, online literary journal for immigrant and foreign-born writers, run in part by SLS alum Lev Feigin, is announcing an open call for submissions for its first edition, due in June. Submissions are accepted in all genres. (Click here for submission guidelines.)

Announcing Dmitri Prigov’s U.S.A. College Reading Tour:

All the way from far away Moscow, Dmitri Prigov is embarking on a reading and lecture tour of the United States in the month of February. We hope that you will be able to attend his readings in your area. (Click here to see more information, contacts, and the tour schedule).

A Parade of Hands by SLS alum James Hoch is the winner of the Gerald Cable Award from Silverfish Review Press.

PEN's webmag, Words Without Borders,
features a number of articles and new writing by Russians.

Six Billion, the online magazine of narrative nonfiction run in part by SLS alum and Graphic Designer Nathan Deuel, will appear at the Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism this December in Cambridge, Massachussets. Look for Six Billion's second issue, Veterans of Foreign Wars, to launch this winter.

SLS alum Dylan Brie Ducey's short story All the Things You Are won first place in the Matt Clark Competition (LSU) this year, and is published in the current issue of New Delta Review. The same story was a semifinalist for the H.E. Francis Award. She also recently completed a novel.

SLS establishes annual prizes for the best translations of American prose writers and poets into Russian.

SLS Director Mikhail Iossel will be the featured guest speaker at the conference on modern literature to be held in December at the Phoenix Players’ Theatre in Nairobi.

Wild East: Stories from the Last Frontier, a collection of short stories featuring long-time SLS faculty member Josip Novakovich will be released in October.

Dalkey Archive press will publish Amerika: Essays by Russian Writers on the U.S. (Spring 2004), edited by SLS directors Mikhail Iossel and Jeff Parker and selected by Dmitry Kuzmin.

The New issue of New American Writing features Russian Absurdist Poetry of the 1930's edited by Eugene Ostashevsky and SLS alum Matvei Yankelevich.