From literary jam to live readings: Recapping the Year of Literature

For the very first time in its history, Red Square hosted a literary festival 'The Books of Russia.'

For the very first time in its history, Red Square hosted a literary festival 'The Books of Russia.'

Evgenya Novozhenina / RIA Novosti
The Year of Literature offered much to enjoy for writers, bloggers and sweet lovers alike. RBTH has collected all the most interesting facts and figures from this literary extravaganza.

The ceremony of passing the baton from the Year of Literature to the Year of Cinema was held in St. Petersburg on Dec.  14. All the attention on literature this year has thrown up some interesting statistics.

1) The winner of a narrating competition held during the festival book market took home 55 pounds of fruit and vegetables. During the first weekend of fall, shelves filled with books were interspersed with the usual ones holding produce at Moscow’s Danilovsky food court and market. Surprised shoppers were able to take home good literature along with their normal purchases.

Source: #‎strebkovalena‬ / Danilovsky food court facebookSource: #‎strebkovalena‬ / Danilovsky food court facebook

2) Continuing the culinary theme, 120 liters of “literary jam” was cooked around Russia. The staff of Rossiyskaya Gazeta found old recipes and made jam outdoors in writers’ estates for the entire summer. They made the plum dessert from Anna Karenina in Tolstoy’s Yasnaya Polyana estate in Tula Region and used local apples from Sergei Yesenin’s native village of Konstantinovo in Ryazan Region to make a jam celebrating his birthday. Read more>>>

A jam from Alexander Blok's estate Shakhmatovo in Moscow Region. Source: Oleg Kolesnikov / RGA jam from Alexander Blok's estate Shakhmatovo in Moscow Region. Source: Oleg Kolesnikov / RG

3) In December, 1300 people took 60 hours to read Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace in a live broadcast. Three months before Natasha Rostova and Andrei Bolkonsky took the stage, another live reading project, Chekhov Alive by Google, saw the great playwright’s characters broadcast over the internet for 24 hours straight. Read more>>>

Fekla Tolstaya, Leo's great-granddaughter and one of the organizers. Source: Olesya Kurpyaeva / RGFamous Russian people took part in a live broadcast. Source: vk.com/voinaimir

4) From June 25-28, Red Square hosted its first ever book fair, at which more than 500,000 books from 300 publishing houses across 50 regions of Russia were presented. From St. Basil’s Cathedral to the State Historical Museum the square hosted discussions, a library, a writer’s office and even a children’s playground. More than 200,000 people attended the writers’ seminars, concerts and theatrical performances that formed part of the year’s biggest literary event. Read more>>>

First ever book fair on Red Square. Source: Ruslan SukhushinFirst ever book fair on Red Square. Source: Ruslan Sukhushin

5) Literature also caught the public imagination away from the big-name festivals, markets and awards. Sergei Nifashev, a street cleaner and blogger from Blagoveshchensk, collected more than 100 rare editions in his basement, finding all of them among the city’s trash! When he went through the books he found old money and photos. A rare find indeed, and not one we recommend trying to repeat – there could be all kinds of nasty bugs lurking among the trash.

Blogger from Blagoveshchensk Sergei Nifashev. Source: Andrei OglesnevBlogger from Blagoveshchensk Sergei Nifashev. Source: Andrei Oglesnev

An abridged version of the article first published in Russian by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Read more: What Russian writers thought of each other

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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