Quick Study: Maria Galina is a prose writer, poet, literary translator, and literary critic who incorporates strong elements of fantasy and myth into her writings.
The Galina File: Maria Galina made her debut as a published fiction writer in the late nineties, as Maxim Golitsyn, with the novel A Time of Losers, and her first poems appeared in national publications in 2000. Galina has gone on to publish, first as Golitsyn then as Galina, several other novels, including Little Boondock and Mole-Crickets, both of which were shortlisted for the Big Book Award, in 2009 and 2012 respectively. Mole-Crickets won second prize in Big Book’s reader voting as well as several prizes for science fiction and fantasy writing. Galina has received prizes for her poetry, too, including the Moscow Count award. Galina is also a literary critic who serves as deputy head of the literary criticism department of the prestigious “thick” literary journal Novyi mir, for which she writes a regular column about fantasy and futurology.
Psssst………: Galina is a marine biologist by education…
Galina’s Places: Born in Kalinin, now known as Tver… studied biology in Odessa… studied salmon in Bergen, Norway, in the early 1990s… lives and works in Moscow…
The Word on Galina: Jane Anderson Jones, writing for Belletrista, called Galina’s Iramifictions, in Amanda Love Darragh’s translation, “boisterous, exuberant fun.” Kirill Glikman, writing for OpenSpace.ru, praised Mole-Crickets, particularly Galina’s main character, Bliumkin, writing, “We have a sound character here, and the reader can identify with him. The reader can crawl into the translucent cocoon that Bliumkin imagines around himself when he has to be out among people, looking through it at life around [himself,] the ‘man in a shell.’”
Galina on Galina: When asked in 2009 in an online “conference” with readers if she might return to biology, Galina said no. “It didn’t work for me to simultaneously be a biologist and a writer. These two things are just too different and, considering that I’m more successful as a writer than as a biologist, writing is probably more my thing.”
On Writing: When asked in a 2009 interview with Russian Newspaper about whether she’s a fantasy writer, a traditional writer, or something in between, Galina listed works she’s published in genre and traditional publications, and concluded by saying, “In addition, to be honest, I think that good genre literature is simply good literature. What’s the difference?”
Galina Recommends: In a 2011 interview with Book-Digest.ru, when asked about her ideals as a reader and writer, Galina mentioned several books and writers: Dmitrii Bykov’s Living Souls and authors Dmitry Gromov and Oleg Ladyzhensky (who write together as Henry Lion Oldie), Oleg Divov, Mikhail Uspensky, and Yevgeny Lukin. In that interview and another, she had high praise for paleontologist Kirill Yeskov, who writes “counterversions” of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books that Galina has called provocative, interesting, and intelligent.
Photo credit: Dmitrii Kuz'min, via Vavilon.ru