Meet the author : Maxim Osipov

Sun 26.03.2023
15:00 - 16:00
Maxim Osipov Annaleen Louwes 2022




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in english

In his powerful, unsentimental and surprising stories, Russian writer Maxim Osipov focuses his gaze on people who undergo major changes as a result of radical events – betrayal, social upheaval, illness or death. Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexiyevich, a fan from the very beginning, has praised his work as ‘an unforgiving diagnosis of Russian life’.

Maxim Osipov does not consider himself a dissident or political activist. ‘I am a writer and a doctor. I try to do the right thing, nothing more.’ And yet he was forced to leave Russia after openly criticizing the invasion of Ukraine.

You shiver and you feel ashamed, but you also feel liberated … You feel ashamed precisely because you feel liberated.
Maxim Osipov on his life as an exile, in De Volkskrant

The stories in Kilometer 101 predate the invasion of Ukraine. Yet these chronicles, full of bittersweet humour, dramatic irony and poignant insights into contemporary life, still gain in urgency at this juncture in time. Deceit, political pressure, discrimination, poverty and drink, rampant corruption, the growing need to emigrate and the fear of leaving home, as well as generational conflicts, are all woven into this work in the same way they have been woven into the lives of Osipov’s fellow Russians. Emigration is the theme in almost every story, whether as threat, pretext or dream.

Maxim Osipov will find in Marnix Verplancke a listening ear for a conversation about not seeing a way out but also seeing a way out, about a life here but also always there.

about the author

Maxim Osipov (b. 1963) is a Russian writer and cardiologist. In the early 1990s, he worked at the University of California in the US. After returning to Russia, he went to work at a hospital in the small provincial town of Tarusa, 101 kilometres from Moscow. Since 2007, Osipov has published six collections of short stories. He has won several literary prizes in Russia and his prose has now been translated into many languages. In March 2022 Osipov fled Russia with his family. In 2022–23, he was appointed guest lecturer at Leiden University.

Over de interviewer

Marnix Verplancke
is recensent en journalist. Hij publiceert op regelmatige basis in De Morgen, Knack en Trouw over literatuur, filosofie en wetenschap. Hij zat in de jury’s van de Gouden Uil (2000 tot 2004) en de Libris Literatuurprijs (2015), naast die van een aantal kleinere prijzen zoals de Socratesprijs en de Bronzen Uil.

‘In these stories, the borders between hope, delusion and dishonesty are hazy and heavily trafficked … Dr Osipov is a master of dramatic irony, wringing bittersweet humor from what the reader sees but the protagonist cannot.
The Wall Street Journal
Through his characters, the author accurately exposes the problems and dangers of Putin’s Russia; precisely those problems and dangers that now explain why so many Russians either lie low or go along with the propaganda of their dictator.
Emilia Menkveld in De Morgen

Don't forget daylight saving time. On Sunday, March 26, the time will change from 2:00 to 3:00.

ORG. Passa Porta

picture © Annaleen Louwes

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