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The Ukrainian author and president of PEN Ukraine, Andrey Kurkov, will give the opening keynote address at this year’s virtual US Book Show which runs from 23-26 May and is organised by Publishers Weekly.  He will talk about his new novel, Grey Bees, published in the US by Deep Vellum and translated by Boris Dralyuk, and also about what it is like to write and publish during war.

The Guardian profile of the author notes: ‘Kurkov combines his career as a novelist with that of a journalist and commentator and all his work is bound up with life in post-soviet union Ukraine. He came to prominence in the west with his novel Death and the Penguin, published in Russian in 1996 and in English in 2001. It featured a Kiev obituary writer, Viktor, and his pet penguin, Misha, who had been rescued when the zoo closed down. Viktor’s hapless wanderings take him through a country where soviet absurdities have been replaced by the equally dark absurdities of organised crime.’

Born in Leningrad in 1961, the family moved to Ukraine two years later.  Kurkov is the author of 19 novels and nine children’s books, as well as some 20 film and television scripts. In 2014 he published Ukraine Diaries: Despatches from Kiev, an eye-witness account of life in the capital when Ukraine’s president was being impeached and Crime was being invaded by Russia.

At the time of writing, Kurkov is staying outside Kyiv with his English wife and young family.