Maxim Osipov, Russian writer in exile

A conversation with Michel Krielaars

Programme editor
Leading up to the Forum on European Culture (June 2023) De Balie curates four episodes about Russian literature and music, in collaboration with Maxim Osipov. Writers, scholars and experts on Russian literature will shed their light on Russian literature, from the classics to the new voices. In this programme, Maxim Osipov engages in conversation with Michel Krielaars about contemporary Russian prose – current Russian literary tradition and the writers that inspire Osipov.

What is contemporary Russian writer, Maxim Osipovs view on the works of Tsjechov, Tolstoj, Poesjkin? A few of the world’s most well-read writers. Does this feel like standing on the shoulders of giants? During the programme, singer Henriette Schenk performs together with accordeonist Ellen Boers.

Culture cannot be viewed separately from social and political developments, especially in Russia. Artists respond to political developments, while at the same time being used, abused and oppressed by those in power. Think of the effect of communism on creative thinkers.

Today, the West is confronted with war once again and displays of power are being played out in the European continent. Russia’s band with Europe is special in a way that a lot of Russian literature and culture throughout history is represented by Russians who fled the country. How is literature and culture formed by fleeing your home country? And for the artists that have stayed, how have the political developments within Russia shaped their line of work and thinking?

About the speakers

Maxim Osipov is a renowned Russian writer. He won several prizes with his literary work in Russia. Producing short stories, plays and essays, Osipov is currently a guest writer at Leiden University since the war broke out. 

Michel Krielaars is a Dutch writer, journalist and a former correspondent in Russia. One of his current activities is being a book editor.


Maxim OsipovRussian writer and cardiologist
Henriette SchenkMezzo-soprano and musical artist
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Maxim Osipov marit
Image: Marit Breuker