Tatyana Tolstaya: Biography

Tatyana Tolstaya

03 maj 1951

Tatyana Nikitichna Tolstaya was born in 1951 in the city now known as St. Petersburg, Russia. She is a novelist, essayist, publicist and television presenter and is a member of the Tolstoy family. Her paternal grandparents were both authors. Her grandfather, Aleksei Nikolaevich Tolstoy wrote ground-breaking science fiction novels and her grandmother, Natalia Krandievskaya was a professional poet. She is the great great niece of the world-renowned Russian author Leo Tolstoy.

Tolstaya attended Leningrad State University (before it became known as the Saint Petersburg State University) and studied in classical philology. After graduating, she moved to Moscow to begin working at a publishing house there: Nauka. Her first published work was a short story entitled On A Golden Porch. It was published in the magazine Avrora in 1983.

Her most famous work is a dystopian novel called The Slynx. The plot takes place in an alternate Moscow, a city which is named after each successive ruler who takes control. Civilization has been wiped out 2 centuries previously by a mysterious event referred to as ‘The Blast’. The characters are faced with a dictatorial rule and a harsh environment as they attempt to rebuild a semblance of culture. She has drawn a lot of her inspiration from Russia’s rich dictatorial history.

Tatyana Tolstaya still lives in Russia and continues to write and conduct interviews in Russian. She has had several short stories published (in translation) in The New Yorker in 2016 and continues to be a prominent figure in Russian cultural affairs.