Lecture: “Sickle and Stars: The New Soviet-Jewish Literary Wave,” Boris Fishman

by CJS

SpeakerBoris Fishman author photo credit Rob Liguori

Boris FishmanAuthor


“Sickle and Stars: The New Soviet-Jewish Literary Wave”

Friday, February 27, 4:00 p.m.
Memorial Union (800 Langdon St.; check TITU)

Join novelist Boris Fishman, author of A Replacement Life (HarperCollins, 2014; New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection), for a wide-ranging conversation about the flurry of books by young Soviet-Jewish emigres that have surfaced over the last decade and now dominate the literary conversation. (The 2014 New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year features no fewer than four.) Is this how Jewish literature takes its next step in America? Is immigrant literature of this sort the future of American books? And what do these books reveal about the relationship between ex-Soviet Jews and the American Jews who worked so hard for their release?


Listen to Lecture

This lecture will be available for download through iTunes U, approximately two weeks after the lecture date. Click here for more information.

About the Speaker

Boris Fishman was born in Minsk, in the former Soviet Union, in 1979, and emigrated to the United States in 1988. His journalism, essays, and criticism have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and Book Review, The New Republic, The NationThe London Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, Harper’s, Vogue and other publications.

Boris received a degree in Russian literature from Princeton University. Afterward, he was on the editorial staff of The New Yorker; edited “Wild East: Stories from the Last Frontier” (Random House), a collection of short stories about the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the early post-Communist years; received a Fulbright research grant to Istanbul, Turkey; and co-wrote and edited the U. S. Senate’s report on Hurricane Katrina.

Boris received his MFA in fiction from New York University, where he was a New York Times Foundation Fellow. Since then, he has received residencies and fellowships from the New York Foundation of the Arts; the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass.; Mesa Refuge and Djerassi Resident Artist Program in northern California; the Edward Albee Foundation in Montauk; the Wildacres Retreat in North Carolina; the Blue Mountain Center in the Adirondacks; and the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Wyoming, among others. To support his writing, Boris has worked as a hiking guide, a farm laborer, a market researcher for a maker of “temporary concrete,” an editor, a fact-checker, and the editorial director of a tech start-up.

A Replacement Life, out from HarperCollins on June 3, 2014 and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, is his first novel. His next, Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo, about a New Jersey couple that adopts a boy from Montana who turns out to be wild, will be out from HarperCollins in early 2016. Other projects include The Church Is Near, But the Way There Is Icy; The Tavern Is Far, But I’ll Walk Carefully: 101 Recipes from Oksana’s Kitchen, an unusual Ukrainian cookbook, and Finding Mr. Harrison, a memoir of his alpha grandfather and decidedly non-alpha father, and seeking out the American writer whose books helped him make sense of their crossfire.