Valery Bochkov was born in Latvia and grew up in Moscow. After graduating from college with a Master’s degree in Fine Arts, he had a successful career as a watercolor artist and illustrator. In 1995-2000, he worked as a creative director for a top international advertising agency, developing award-winning campaigns in Moscow and New York. After he emigrated to the US, he created his own Studio for visual and interactive media and communications, including visual concepts for the Discovery Channel; his illustrations were published in newspapers such as the New York Times and The Washington Post. He had over a dozen solo shows of his artworks, both in Europe and in the US, and he was invited to the Edinburgh Art Festival twice. His first short stories (written in Russian) were published in 2012. He was shortlisted for several major Russian literary prizes (National Bestseller prize, Big Book, Russian Booker, NOS), and in 2014 he was awarded the Russian Prize, the literary award for writers living outside of Russia and writing in Russian.
This collection of personal essays by a bi-national Russian/U.S. author offers glimpses into many things Soviet and post-Soviet: the sacred, the profane, the mundane, the little-discussed and the often-overlooked. What was a Soviet school dance like? Did communists go to church? Did communists listen to Donna Summer? If you want to find out, read on!
“Cold War Casual” is a collection of transcribed oral testimony and interviews translated from Russian into English and from English into Russian that delve into the effect of the events and the government propaganda of the Cold War era on regular citizens of countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
Julia Wiener was born in the USSR a few years before the Second World War; her youth was spent during the “Thaw” period, and her maturity coincided with the years of “Soviet stagnation”, which, in her case, ended with her emigration to Israel in the early 1970s. Her wartime childhood, her Komsomol-student youth, her subsequent disillusionment, her meetings with well-known writers (Andrei Platonov, Victor Nekrasov, etc.) are described in a humorous style and colorful detail. Julia brings to life colorful characters – from her Moscow communal apartment neighbors to a hippie London lord, or an Arab family, headed by a devotee of classical Russian literature. No less diverse are the landscapes against which the events unfold: the steppes of Kazakhstan, the Garden of Gethsemane, New York, Amsterdam, London.