Mihail Shishkin

Mihail Shishkin

Prose writer
Date of Birth: 18.01.1961
Country: Switzerland

Biography of Mikhail Shishkin

Mikhail Shishkin is a Russian writer and novelist who is known for his unique style that combines the best elements of Russian and European literary traditions. Born in Moscow, Russia, Shishkin graduated from the Romance-Germanic Faculty of the Moscow State Pedagogical Institute in 1982.

After completing his education, Shishkin worked as an editor for three years at the magazine "Rovesnik." He then spent the next ten years as a school teacher at School No. 444 in Moscow, where he taught German and English languages.

In 1995, Shishkin married a Swiss woman and relocated to Zurich, Switzerland, where he has been residing ever since. It was during this time that he began publishing his works, starting with his short story "The Calligraphy Lesson" in the journal "Znamya" in 1993.

Shishkin is the author of several novels, including "Calligraphy Lesson" (1993), "Maidenhair" (2005), which won the National Bestseller Award and the Big Book Award, and "The Taking of Izmail" (2000), which was awarded the Booker Prize. He is also known for his literary and historical guidebook "Russian Switzerland" (1999), which received the Canton of Zurich Prize.

Additionally, Shishkin wrote an essay book titled "Montreux-Missolunghi-Astapovo: Tracing the Footsteps of Byron and Tolstoy" in 2002. After its translation into French in 2005, the book was awarded the prize for the best foreign book of the year in the essay category in France.

In 2006, a theatrical adaptation of Shishkin's novel "Maidenhair" titled "The Most Important Thing" was staged by Evgeny Kamenkovich at the Moscow Theater Workshop P. Fomenko.

Shishkin's prose combines the richness of vocabulary, musicality, and plasticity of expression from authors such as Chekhov, Bunin, and Nabokov, with a subtle psychological insight and natural, non-declarative civic pathos. He also incorporates elements from Western authors, particularly James Joyce and the masters of the "New Novel," by employing the principle of shifting styles and narrative instances within a single work, fragmentary composition, and a focus on language rather than mere storytelling.

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