Short biography

© Alisa Ganieva, Photo: Molly Tallant
© Alisa Ganieva, Photo: Molly Tallant

Alisa Ganieva


September, October, November 2020

Auswärtiges Amt

Alisa Ganieva is an author of fiction and essays. In 2009, her first long story—Salam, Dalgat! about her native land in the Caucasus—won the prestigious Debut Prize a major literary award for young writers.

Since then she wrote three acclaimed novels The Mountain And The Wall (Праздничная гора, AST, 2012), Bride and Groom (Жених и невеста, AST, 2015) and Offended Sensibilities (Оскорбленные чувства, AST, 2018).

She was shortlisted for some well-known national literary awards: the Yury Kazakov Prize (for the best short story of the year), the Belkin Prize (for the best long story of the year), the Yasnaya Polyana literary prize (in 2013), and the Russian Booker Prize (for the best novel of the year).

Ganieva’s fiction has been translated into German, English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, Bengali and many other languages and has garnered warm feedback in many countries from critics, scholars and public alike. Her novel Bride and Groom has been turned into a two-hour radio play broadcasted by radio BBC4 (UK).

Ganieva is also a civil activist and a member of the Moscow PEN-center board.

During the time of her fellowship, she would like to focus on her new novel investigating problems of recurring patterns of national development, imperial mentality, and historical traumas in present-day Russia. She wants to put her efforts into combining different styles, topics, and aesthetic approaches to build the narrative with an entertaining plot and a certain fusion of fiction and nonfiction. A narrative based both on Dagestani and Moscow material.

Unlike her previous novels, this one might have several plunges into the recent past—namely, the nineties—the decade poorly comprehended and harshly demonized in Russia: “A glimpse of chaos and freedom, a dramatic breakdown and fantastic possibilities—this is what fascinates me and makes me wonder: what if my country stuck to that turbulent, but freedom-abiding path? I have to create a working mini-world with lively and plethoric characters to find it out.”