Russian writers to contribute to LBF's market focus

Leo Tolstoy's great-great-grandson Vladimir Tolstoy will be among the 49 authors, poets, critics and academics contributing to London Book Fair's Market Focus Cultural Programme this year.

Together with partners the British Council, the Russian Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communication and Academia Rossica, LBF will host a series of events featuring key figures in the world of Russian literature throughout the week starting 11th April.

The programme, "A New Chapter in a Great Tradition", will feature Russian Booker Prize winners Mikhail Shishkin, Alexander Illichevsky, Ludmila Ulitskaya and Olga Slavnikova, as well as Andrei Bitov, president and co-founder of the Russian PEN Club and vice-president of International PEN.

Also contributing in talks and events will be Russia's most successful crime author, Polina Dashkova, award-winning poet and cultural critic Alexander Skidan and multi-award winning novelist Dina Rubina.

On 12th April, Boris Akunin will be LBF's market focus author of the day.

LBF group exhibition director Alistair Burtenshaw said: "Market Focus is an integral part of the London Book Fair, and I am excited that Russia is in the spotlight this year. We are pleased to have worked with our partners in pulling together such an impressive line up of writers and academics for the 2011 Market Focus Cultural Programme.

"It will showcase a true cross section of Russian literature . . . [We] hope that LBF 2011 provides ongoing opportunities for Russian publishers and writers to develop cultural and commercial relationships with publishers and new partners from the rest of the world".

Vladimir Grigoriev, deputy head of the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation said: "The importance of literature in Russian society throughout its history has been not only as entertainment, but as a vehicle for political debate and social comment, which we are looking forward to exploring with UK readers. Russia is home to a vibrant literary scene, and we are pleased to be welcomed into London's famous literary circles for this week of celebration."