Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Elif Batuman in conversation with Richard Fidler

US writer and academic Elif Batuman fell in love with the great Russian writers after reading 'Anna Karenina' some years ago.

Broadcast date: Tuesday 31 August 2010 (612 ABC Brisbane)

Elif has discovered that when you read a truly great novel, it can work as a kind of vortex - drawing you into its world and its passions, and if you're not careful you can end up making important decisions about your own life as a result.

She wanted to explore the link between real life and books, and when she decided to chase up the lives and stories of the likes of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, she had no idea of the extraordinary places it would lead her.

Some of the many things she discovered on her bizarrre journey include the discovery that Isaac Babel once met and probably interrogated the creator of the original King Kong movie on a Polish battlefield - and that in the old Uzbek language they have 70 words for duck.

The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them published by Text

Brisbane Writers' Festival: Thurs 2 Sept GoMA Cinema A 2.30 pm/Sat 4 Sept The Edge 1.30 pm