Alexis Kirschbaum, the editorial director at Penguin Classics in London, sees demand among UK readers for Russian literature as steady, if not growing. “Of all the languages, our Russian translations are the most popular,” Kirschbaum said. “Leo Tolstoy is far and away our best-selling Russian author in English. Fyodor Dostoevsky also sells well, as does Vladimir Nabokov.”The UK book market is the second largest in Europe, but only a small fraction of sales are from Russian texts.
This will give you an idea of what types of books are being translated from Russian into English:
A third are 19th and 20th century Russian classics, a third are works of poetry and the final third are books written since 2000. In the UK, Penguin continues to release new and updated translations of Russian classics. This year has seen the release of new translations of Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin and Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons. The company is also set to release a reprint of Andrei Beliy’s Petersburg and Vladimir Nabokov’s final and unfinished novel The Original of Laura toward the end of this year.And in case you were wondering what UK books are popular in Russian --
Rachel Stevens of the British Council highlighted the success of Ian McEwan, Ian Fleming, Iris Murdoch and Terry Pratchett. “Obviously, Russian readers read all the classics as well and Agatha Christie, who continues to be an all-time bestseller. Last year she sold more than 800,000 copies, which put her in third place among all foreign literature fiction sold,” said Stevens.You can always count on Agatha Christie!