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Memory, Fiction, Non-Fiction. Katja Petrowskaja & Maria Stepanova in conversation with Ksenia Robbe

Katja Petrowskaja is a writer and journalist. She was born in Kiev in 1970, studied Russian literature at Tartu University and received a PhD from the Russian State University of the Humanities in Moscow. Since 1999, she has lived in Germany and worked for Russian- and German-language media. Since 2011 she is a columnist of Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. She is the author of the bestseller novel Vielleicht Esther (Maybe Esther) written in German and published in 2014. The novel has been met with great critical acclaim and received, among other, the most important award for debut writing in German, Ingeborg Bachmann prize. It has been translated into 20 languages.

Maria Stepanova is a poet, essayist, and journalist. Born in 1972, she graduated from Moscow Literary Institute in 1995. She is the author of ten poetry collections and three books of essays, and a recipient of several Russian and international literary awards. Her opinion pieces have been published in Russian, English and German. Her documentary novel Pamiati pamiati (In Memory of Memory) that blends memoir, documents, and essays into an epic narrative, came out in Russian in November 2017 and received the Big Book Prize in December 2018 and NOS prize in February 2019, as well as the Brücke Berlin Prize in 2020. The book was recently published in German, Dutch, Swedish, Italian, Bulgarian and Polish and is forthcoming in English, French, Chinese and a number of other languages. Apart from publishing as a poet and essayist, Maria Stepanova is the founder and editor-in-chief of COLTA.RU, an crowd-funded online daily covering cultural, social, and political life in Russia and in the world; one of the few independent publications in current media landscape, it attracts an audience of 400,000 unique visitors per month.