Irina Bogatyreva and Lydia Pekhtereva read their short stories at the Kora Festival in Moscow

The participants of the Kora short-story festival, held in Moscow, included Irina Bogatyreva, a writer, who presented her story about her experience in a Ulyanovsk school, and Lidiya Pekhtereva, an author and journalist from Ulyanovsk. There were approximately 100 stories submitted for the competition by authors from various Russian cities. The judges selected participants of the Moscow festival’s closing program: on February 16, the writers could present their stories in person.

Kora is a short-story festival, invented by Aleksey Oleynikov, a writer, and Tatyana Rudishina, chief librarian of the Moscow Central Children’s Library, named after A.P. Gaidar, with the active involvement of Nadezhda Erichman, Librarian. The Festival’s Literature Board included Kseniya Dragunskaya and Boris Minayev, writers, Irina Arzamastseva, literary historian and professor of Moscow State Pedagogical University, Aleksey Kopeikin and Nikolay Dzhumakuliev, editors of the Volchok Publishing House, Mariya Poryadina, research scientist of the Central Institute of Bibliography. The participants of the festival were such well-known Russian writers as Nina Dashevskaya, Mariya Boteva, Anastasiya Strokina, Aya An, and others.


Photo: Irina Bogatyreva

Stories of two Ulyanovsk-related authors were included in the Festival’s Final program in Moscow.

Thus, the Moscow festival featured the appearance of Irina Bogatyreva, who was born in Kazan, grew up in Ulyanovsk, and now lives in Moscow. She is a graduate of the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute and MA course of the Folklore Typology and Semiotics Center of RSUH. Author of 7 prose books, laureate of the “Ilya-Prize”, the “October” literary magazine prize, the “Belkin” prize, the Goncharov’s prize, the Krapivin’s prize, the Mikhalkov’s prize, the Student’s Booker Prize, the “Knigaroo” contest. Recently, Irina appeared as a guest of literary coworking in Ulyanovsk.


In the interview with the “Ulyanovsk UNESCO City of Literature” website, Irina Bogatyreva shared her impressions of the festival:

- The Kora Festival was held for the first time, and I was happy to get involved with it because of my interest in its topic – children’s short-story prose work. I know the promoters and the Literary Board members as profoundly well-schooled in the subject matter. To take such persons’ opinion of the texts of your own and other contestants is worth its weight in gold. Luckily, the festival was hosted as a workshop, where every participant, reciting his story, was happy to get the portion of the experienced judgment. To this end, individually to me as an author, used to write long-form, this involvement meant a specific challenge. I presented reading of my story “Key” written for the expressed purpose of the above contest, the story’s plot is my personal experience gained at school in Ulyanovsk.

Seemingly, listening to more than 30 texts a day even if very short ones, will be very tiresome but not a bit of it. The genre liveliness produced effect along with discussions breaks, somehow allowing for structuring the emotions induced by what was heard. No overload happened, instead, with an interesting discussion on children’s literature at large. On how it shall be up-to-date, or whether or not we are willing to place present-day children into realities of our childhood. So far as the authors manage to get rid of stereotypes with permanent grannies, little fellows on a holiday, of desires to make texts funny on the assumption that literature must be entertaining. On how, on the other hand, the author wants to dig in mentor’s heel, or rather to make advances or to use baby talk. How many pussycats, little fishes and doggies must children’s literature have per head. And so as not to kill your younger brother, and how to stay alive being a younger brother yourself. In short, there was an opportunity to discuss all the above, thanks to favorable and accessible material.

In my opinion, the festival was a success, and I want to commend its hosts and the Literary Board for that. I hope, it will be held next year again as an excellent inoculation for our literature, tooled for the long-form.

Author’s reading of the story is available at 2.23.31

Being unable to attend the final part of the Moscow festival, Lidiya Pekhtereva, a writer and journalist from Ulyanovsk read her story for the YouTube stream.


- At the festival, my story “Dog Days of Summer” was wired for sound with consequent consideration. I could follow its rendering with the aid of video broadcasting. I am happy to take advantage of hearing expert opinions on my work. On the whole, the festival hosting seems very important to me as the story genre has lost ground, particularly in Russian children’s and young adults’ literature, - stated Lidiya Pekhtereva in her interview with the “Ulyanovsk UNESCO City of Literature” website.

Lidiya Pekhtereva started to write fairy tales and stories after her son’s birth while her daughter’s birth caused her to write children’s poems. As the author of the “Marvel of Technology” fairy tale, Lidiya recently made the long list of the “Nastya & Nikita” publishing house, while her children’s verses were published in the magazine “Formaslova”.

- My stories about children – fairy tales, short novels, and poetry - started to show themselves on to my surprise when I was on maternity leave with my elder son. It all started with my son’s asks to tell him stories. To be more exact, he wanted to watch slide films that we had watched several times before with friends. However, as our home film-strip projector was out of use, we had to pretend that we watched them: under darkroom conditions he played as if scrolling the film while I as if reading fairy tales, was making them up on the spot. Of course, he would give me a helping hand. At one time, we could have been engaged in it for several hours a day. Then storylines started to pop into my head aside from him, - the author follows through. - Though written about childhood, the stories turn out to be unchildish. In many cases, it is a kind of nostalgia for childhood and a parent’s take on not only on his child but also on his/her childhood. The children’s poems have appeared fairly recently, following my daughter’s birth. They are dedicated not to her but to what I and my son have gone through. In my opinion, it is out-turn of his preschool childhood.