Soviet dissident writer Sergei Dovlatov is to be honoured in a new festival in the Pskov region in northwestern Russia next autumn. The Dovlatov Festival will comprise film screenings and contemporary art exhibitions as well as theatre, literary and poetry performances, with well-known Russian cultural figures, including performance poet Vera Polozkova, film critic Andrei Plakhov, writer Victor Erofeyev, theatre producer Pavel Kaplevich and artist Aidan Salakhova, among the line-up to curate the festival’s individual programmes.
The festival’s producer, Alex Bokov, presented its concept in Pskov over the weekend, where he spoke of his hopes to attract Russian and international cultural figures to the region: “Dovlatov, Pushkin, the 12th-century frescoes and the cultural heritage of the Pskov region will all be fused together with the avant-garde content of Dovlatovfest…This is why we’re doing this festival. It is a cultural bridge connecting Russia with the world.”
Dovlatov spent a number of summers working as a tour guide on the Mikhaylovskoye Pushkin Reserve, a museum complex located on Alexander Pushkin’s estate 120km southeast of Pskov, which is to be one of the locations for the festival’s events next year.
Unable to officially publish his work in a Soviet literary landscape dogged by censorship, Dovlatov circulated his samizdat writings — self-published dissident literature — among friends. He left the Soviet Union in 1978 for New York, where he lived until his death in 1990.
In July this year, a street in New York was renamed after Dovlatov in honour of his contribution to the city.