Elena Fanailova


Elena Fanailova is a poet, critic, and journalist. Born in Voronezh, Central Russia in 1962, she is graduate of the Voronezh Medical Institute and the Voronezh State University, where she majored in linguistics. Fanailova has worked as a doctor and a university professor.

For more than 20 years, she has also worked for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty where she currently hosts the radio program “Liberty in Clubs.” She covers various topics ranging from the Beslan tragedy and Ukranian Majdan to contemporary European and Russian culture.

Fanailova’s poems have been published in leading literary magazines in Russia and abroad, and her work has been translated into 10 languages. Fanailova is the author of eight poetry books and the recipient of the Andrei Bely Award (1999) and  the Moscow Score Award (2003). In 2008 and 2011, her collections were included on Kommersant Publishing House’s “Books of the Year” shortlists.

In 2010, The Russian Version, translated by Genya Turovskaya & Stephanie Sandler (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2009), won the Best Translated Book Award For Poetry. The BTBA is awarded by “Three Percent,” a resource and support group for international literature at the University of Rochester in the United States. 

In 2013, she was awarded a scholarship from the Joseph Brodsky Memorial Foundation to travel to Rome. Her collection, Lena and the People, was published in Rome in 2015 as well as translated and edited by Claudia Skandura.

Fanailova was a jury member of several prestigious literary awards in Russia.

In recent years, her area of professional interest has focused on Central Europe and the Balkans. Between 2012 and 2018, she conducted interviews and programs with Ukrainian intellectuals for Radio Liberty. She is one of Sergei Zhadan’s translators into Russia.

She lives in Moscow.