Professor Valentina Polukhina
Professor Valentina Polukhina is a scholar of modern Russian poetry who has worked both in her native Russia and in Britain. She is an Emeritus Professor at Keele University, and the widow of Professor Daniel Weissbort. Valentina is the author of several major studies on Joseph Brodsky and has edited bilingual collections of poetry by, among others, Olga Sedakova, Oleg Prokofiev, Dmitry Prigov, and Evgeny Rein.
Valentina was born in Siberia and educated at Moscow State University. From 1962 to 1973 she taught at Moscow Lumumba University, before moving to Keele University in the UK where she held a professorship from 1973 to 2001. Valentina has a particular interest in bringing living Russian literature to English audiences, and has been organising visits of Russian writers and poets to UK universities since 1976. The position of Russian Poet in Residence at Keele University (now abolished), as well as the Russian Poets Fund, were established as the result of her efforts.
The most important books by Professor Polukhina include Joseph Brodsky: A Poet for Our Time (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989, second ed. 2009), Brodsky’s Poetics and Aesthetics (with Lev Loseff, London: The Macmillan Press, 1990), Russian Culture: Semiotic and Structure (co-editor with Joe Andrew and Robert Reid, Amsterdam: 1994), Brodsky’s Poetics, in Russian: Поэтика Бродского (with I. Fomenko and A, Stepanov, Tver’, 2003), Brodsky Through the Eyes of his Contemporaries (Brighton, MA: Academic Studies, 2008, in 2 volumes), Evterpa and Cleo of Joseph Brodsky. Chronology of his Life, in Russian: Эвтерпа и Клио Иосифа Бродского: Хронология жизни и творчества (Tomsk: 2012). Together with Daniel Weissbort, Valentina has assembled a special issue of Modern Poetry in Translation (2002), a revised version of which was published as An Anthology of Russian Women Poets (2005) in the UK and USA.
More recently Valentina has completed an anthology of poems dedicated to Joseph Brodsky, From Those Who Remember Me (Russian: Из незабывших меня), which includes contributions from three Nobel laureates, and features eighteen British, two Irish, and twenty American poets, as well as poets from Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Poland, Israel, Ukraine, and 121 Russian poets and writers. The Anthology was published and presented in 2015.
In 2014, Professor Polukhina was awarded the A. C. Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature for her lifelong services to Russian and British poetry.
Valentina has been the President of the Russian Poets Fund since its foundation in 1995. She lives in London.
Dr Olga Shvarova
Vice-President and Treasurer
Dr Olga Shvarova is an associate consultant in innovation and investment management at Isis Innovation, the technology transfer company of the University of Oxford, where she received a doctorate in Materials Science. Olga runs her own boutique strategy consultancy firm, RUKTEK, and also works for McGrigor Group, Ruffena Capital and private clients. She also collaborates with Russian Institutes of Development within 5/100 Initiative, a multi-year project to boost the global competitiveness of Russian universities.
Despite pursing a career on the borders between science and investment, Olga has always found time for creative arts. She has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom under the leadership of Professor Timothy Garton Ash and is a Contributor on Science, Innovation and Technology for the Calvert Journal, an online briefing resource on modern Russia and a winner of the independent Kuryokhin Contemporary Art Prize’s award for the promotion of art in the media.
Olga began writing her own poems in English in 2011 and started translating modern and classic poetry from Russian to English in 2012. Her first translations were published in 2014 in Fiona Sampson’s Poem and in New Humanist.
Olga became the Vice-President and the Treasurer of the Russian Poets Fund in 2014. She lives in London.
Dr Sergey Fadeev
Dr Sergey Fadeev is a linguist, historian, translator, and freelance consultant. He was born in Dzerzhinsk, Russia and later moved to Nizhny Novgorod, where he completed his doctoral studies in Byzantine History. Currently, he is a D.Phil. Candidate reading for Medieval and Modern Languages at the University of Oxford. Sergey has been awarded two prestigious scholarships, a Chevening Scholarship and a Hill Foundation Scholarship.
His special interests include Russian culture abroad and politics. In this capacity he has been a participant of the Bucerius Summer School on Global Governance in Hamburg. Currently he is a research assistant at the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom hosted by St Anthony’s College, Oxford. His responsibilities include academic research on Russian politics, society, and culture, as well as editorial work.
Sergey joined Valentina and Olga as Company Secretary of the Russian Poets Fund in 2014 and since then has been directly involved in the organization of all its events.