Maria Stepanova is a poet, novelist, essayist, journalist and the author of ten poetry collections and three books of essays. Her book War of the Beasts and the Animals (Bloodaxe Books, 2021), translated by Sasha Dugdale, is the first English translation of her poetry. It is a Poetry Book Society Translation Choice and was shortlisted for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation 2021. Stepanova has received several Russian and international literary awards (including the prestigious Andrey Bely Prize and Joseph Brodsky Fellowship). Her documentary novel In Memory of Memory won Russia's Big Book Award in 2018 and was published in English in Sasha Dugdale's translation by Fitzcarraldo in the UK and New Directions in the US in 2021. In 2023 she was awarded the Berman Literature Prize for In Memory of Memory. It was also shortlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize, the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation 2021, and the 2022 James Tait Black Prize for Biography. A third book by her, The Voice Over: Poems and Essays, edited by Irina Shevelenko, was published by Columbia University Press in the US in its Russian Library series in 2021. In 2022 Maria Stepanova was awarded the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding 2023 for another book of poetry, Mädchen ohne Kleider (Girls Without Clothes), published in German by Suhrkamp Verlag. Sasha Dugdale's translation of her book-length poem Holy Winter 20/21 will be published by Bloodaxe in the UK in 2024.
Stepanova founded and was editor-in-chief of the online independent crowd-sourced journal Colta.ru, which engaged with the cultural, social and political reality of contemporary Russia until the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine when all dissenting media in Russia were forced to shut down. As a prominent critic of Putin’s regime, Stepanova had to leave Russia and is now living in exile.
Author photo: Sergey Melikhov
Books by Maria Stepanova