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UCLan is home to Queen of Russian Poetry

10 June 2015

Rachel Atkinson

Dr Olga Tabachnikova received international acclaim for her literary work

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) academic is celebrating after being awarded the title of ‘Queen of Russian Poetry’.

Dr Olga Tabachnikova, a British poet with Russian roots, has received the international prize at the Pushkin in Britain 2015 Festival after winning a competition for poets based abroad.

The Russian Studies lecturer, who has been writing poetry since her childhood and has had two books of her poems published, said: “I am very pleased to be distinguished in this way. It's very important for any person who writes, especially poetry - which is a very individual, even alienating activity - to have their work recognised.

“These are high moments, even though for an artist the real triumph is a creative process itself. But such poetic awards are also, if you like, an expression of faith, which at the same time increases your feeling of responsibility. So it is simultaneously a rewarding and demanding happening.”

At the poetry contest Olga was one of 10 authors from six countries who made it to the final. The event was part of the 13th annual international festival of Russian poetry, hosted in London, by the Russian Embassy in the UK to commemorate the anniversary of the famous writer's birth on 6 June 1799. This is especially significant given that 2015 is the Year of Literature in Russia.

“It's very important for any person who writes, especially poetry - which is a very individual, even alienating activity - to have their work recognised.”

Festival founder Oleg Borushko, who was head of the jury, presented Dr Tabachnikova with her award. He said she deserved the accolade “queen of poets.”

Not only does the lecturer receive the title and a crown, she has also been officially invited to Russia for the annual literary celebrations, held at the end of May 2016, on Alexander Pushkin's Boldino estate, near Moscow. During the Festival, an evening of her poetry will take place and a book of her poetry will be published by the Library of Foreign Literature, in Moscow.

With funding from UCLan, Olga is currently producing a bilingual anthology of World War One poetry which will be published in the UK. Her international success has now seen her approached by the Director of the Russian Library of Foreign Literature who wants to republish the book in Russia. This follows on from her recent scholarly success with her monograph ‘Russian Irrationalism from Pushkin to Brodsky. Seven Essays in Literature and Thought’ which was published by Bloomsbury Academic Publishers earlier this year.

Her new found fame has also led to her being interviewed on the BBC Russian radio station.