Maria Stepanova Readings

Maria Stepanova Readings

Maria Stepanova is one of Russia’s most innovative and exciting poets and thinkers. Her book-length poem Holy Winter 20/21 will be published by Bloodaxe in the UK in March 2024, translated by poet and Russian specialist Sasha Dugdale. It is a Poetry Book Society Translation Choice.

Maria Stepanova was founding editor of, an independent cultural website 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. has been compared to Huffington Post in its status and importance. 

Her prize-winning meta-memoir In Memory of Memory (Fitzcarraldo Editions) was published on 17 February 2021, followed by her first full English-language collection War of the Beasts and the Animals, a Poetry Book Society Translation Choice, on 25 March.  Both books were translated by Sasha Dugdale, and were both shortlisted for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation 2021. In Memory of Memory was shortlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize and longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2021. A third book by Stepanova, 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.

Maria Stepanova launched War of the Beasts and the Animals at StAnza International Poetry Festival on 13 March and at a joint online event hosted by Bloodaxe Books on 23 March 2021. Watch the online launch below.

‘Stepanova’s poetry collection War of the Beasts and the Animals was written in 2014 and 2015, during Russia’s conflict with Ukraine... What emerges is another archive of sorts, a home for language’s changing and motley complexion.’ – Matthew Janney, The Guardian

'...Maria Stepanova is an outstanding writer, whose international reputation will only grow with time. The Voice Over and War of the Beasts and the Animals offer an exceptional introduction to her work, the product of intensive collaboration, creative endeavour, and serious scholarship. Both are essential reading for anybody interested in poetry today and in contemporary Russian culture.' - Rose France, Translation and Literature

A profile of Maria Stepanova ran in The Guardian of 11 February 2021. Read the interview here.

A short extract from War of the Beasts and the Animals can be read in Modern Poetry in Translation here.

Links to interviews, poem features, reviews and major pieces on Maria Stepanova's poetry and prose are on Bloodaxe's news pages here.





Tuesday 19 March 2024, 7pm

Launch reading by Jane Hirshfield (USA) and Maria Stepanova (Russia) with Sasha Dugdale

Join Bloodaxe for this launch reading by Jane Hirshfield and Maria Stepanova, plus Maria's translator Sasha Dugdale, celebrating the publication of their new books. This free Bloodaxe launch event will be streamed on YouTube Live on this YouTube page:

If you register to attend on TicketTailor you will receive an event link reminder by email by midday the day before the event. Sign up for reminders here:


Thursday 2 May 2024

Reading at Shakespeare & Co.

Maria Stepanova and her translator Sasha Dugdale will be reading from Holy Winter 20/21 at this famous Parisian bookshop alongside the poet Ishion Hutchinson.

Time and further details TBC soon.



Bloodaxe Books launch, Tuesday 23 March 2021, Maria Stepanova (with Sasha Dugdale) and Pia Tafdrup

International live streamed launch reading by Maria Stepanova and her translator Sasha Dugdale, along with Danish poet Pia Tafdrup, celebrating the publication of their new poetry collections. Maria joined the event from her home in Moscow, Pia from Copenhagen, and Sasha from Sussex. Hosted by Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley from his home in Northumberland.
Pia read two poems in Danish in each of her sets, with the rest of the poems in David McDuff's English translations.  Maria and Sasha took turns to read extracts from the long poem 'War of the Beasts and the Animals’ in Russian and English (from 14:40). The readings were followed by a wide-rangng and deeply thoughtful discussion, prompted by some very penetrating questions from the online audience.

[11 February 2021]

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