Conversations from the Cullman Center: A Terrible Country: Keith Gessen and Michael Vazquez

September 25, 2018

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Keith Gessen and Michael Vazquez talk about Gessen’s new novel, A Terrible Country, which follows a Russian-born American graduate student who learns how to navigate Putin’s Russia over the course of a year when he returns to Moscow to take care of his ailing grandmother.

Keith Gessen is the author of All the Sad Young Literary Men and a founding editor of n+1. He is the editor of three nonfiction books and the translator or co-translator, from Russian, of multiple books including Voices from Chernobyl by Novel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich. A contributor to the New Yorker and the London Review of Books, Gessen teaches journalism at Columbia University. He worked on A Terrible Country during his Cullman Center Fellowship in 2014-2015.

Michael Vazquez is a Senior Editor at Bidoun, an award-winning journal of art, culture, and ideas from the Middle East and elsewhere. He has been a curator-in-residence at the Delfina Foundation and collaborates often with the Colloquium for Unpopular Culture at New York University. As a Cullman Center Fellow in 2014-15, he worked on a book about the funding of Cold War culture and the emergence of “world literature” and “global art,” particularly in Africa.