Laureate of State Prizes of the Russian Federation, President of the Russian Pen-Club.
Born on May 27, 1937 in Leningrad. Hereditary Petersburger. Father – Bitov George Leonidovich (1902-1977), architect. Mother – Kedrova Olga Alekseevna (1905-1990), a lawyer. Children: Anna (born 1962), Ivan (born 1977), George (born in 1988).
The first childhood memories of Andrei Bitov are connected with the winter of 1941-42. Then there was an evacuation to the Urals, then – a transfer to Tashkent, from which he began his “journeys”, which do not stop even to this day. In my school years I was carried away by mountaineering, at the age of 16 I received the badge “Mountaineer of the USSR”. Then he discovered bodybuilding. Love of the mountains led him in 1957 to the Leningrad Mining Institute to the geological exploration department. To write Andrey Bitov began as a student. At the institute he entered the Lithuanian association under the leadership of Gleb Semenov. There were such well-known poets as A. Kushner, A. Gorodnitsky, V. Britanski, G. Gorbovsky and others.
In 1957 a collection of litho-unification, which included the first works of A. Bitov, was burned in the courtyard of the institute in connection with the events in Hungary. At the same time, Bitov was expelled from the institute and wound up in the army, in the building battalion in the North. In 1958, he was able to demobilize, recover at the institute, which he graduated in 1962. Then he began to write prose. The first stories were published in the almanac “Young Leningrad” in 1960. These stories were later included in the collection “The Big Ball,” which was published in 1963 in Leningrad. From this year Andrey Bitov becomes a professional writer. In 1965 he was admitted to the Union of Writers of the USSR.
In 1965-1967, he studied at the Higher Scenario Courses under the Goskino in Moscow. His fellow students were R. Gabriadze, V. Makanin, R. Ibragimbekov, G. Matevosyan.
1973-1974 were years of study in the graduate school of the Institute of World Literature (IMLI). The thesis written by him on the specialty “Theory of Literature” was presented to the defense, but he did not defend it.
In 1967, the first book was published in Moscow – “Summer Country”, followed by “Aptekarsky Island” (1968), “Lessons of Armenia” (1969), “Lifestyle” (1972), “Days of Man” (1976) Seven Travels “(1976). After the publication of the novel “Pushkin House” in 1978 in the US and participation in the compilation of the uncensored almanac “Metropol” in 1979, he practically did not print until Mikhail Gorbachev came to power. In connection with the restructuring, new times began. In 1986, Andrei Bitov’s books “The Georgian Album,” “
Andrei Bitov released two collections of poems: “Tree” and “On Thursday after the rain” (St. Petersburg: Pushkin Fund, 1997). Now the third book of poems is being prepared for publication. The author has a plan to write a play – from the genres that he did not master, there remained drama. The works of A. Bitov were translated into almost all European languages.
Since 1978, the writer began life in two cities – Moscow and Leningrad. He considers himself the champion of this route. Since 1986, there have been permanent relocations: Moscow – Leningrad – abroad. In 1992-1993 in Berlin, the scientific board (“Wisshenschafts Kolleg”) gave A. Bitov the conditions for working on his favorite topic. Before him from the Russians this right was granted to A. Schnittke and... O. Ioseliani. During this time A. Bitov completed the “Empire in four dimensions,” it was published in Russia in 1996. “Empire…” corresponds to the sequence of English-language publications: “Life in Windy Weather” (1986), “Pushkin House” (1987), “Captive of the Caucasus” (1988), “The Monkey Link” (1995). The last books of A. Bitov: “Catechumens” and “The author’s first book” (1996),
Since the fall of 1986, Andrei Bitov has become an “out-of-town” guest speaker, delivered lectures and readings in many countries, participated in numerous conferences and symposiums. He taught Russian literature abroad, particularly in the USA: Weslyan University, Connecticut (Connecticut, 1988), NYU (New York University, 1995), Princeton (Princeton University, 1996).
Since 1988, A. Bitov participated in the creation of the Russian Pen Club, and since 1991 – its president. A. Bitov worked in the cinema. In 1979, he wrote the script for the film “On Thursday and Never Again” (directed by A. Efros), in 1967 he co-wrote the script of the Soviet-Japanese film “The Little Fugitive”. Once A. Bitov even starred in the film by Sergei Solovyov “Alien, white and pockmarked.” In 1990 he became the first winner of the Pushkin Prize in Germany. In 1992 he was awarded the State Prize of the Russian Federation for the novel “The Departing Monks”.
In 1997 he again became a laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation and the award “Northern Palmyra” for the novel “Catechumens” (the last novel that concludes the “Empire in four dimensions”). A. Bitov is a laureate of international prizes: Andrei Bely in St. Petersburg (1990), Best Foreign Book of the Year (Paris, 1990) for the novel “Pushkin House”. A. Bitov-Chevalier of the French Order of Literature, co-president of the Nabokov Foundation in St. Petersburg, chairman of the commission for the inheritance of Andrei Platonov, member of the presidium of the Mandelstam Society.
A. Bitov is the winner of the awards of the magazines Friendship of Peoples, Novy Mir, Foreign Literature, Zvezda, Ogonek, etc. Since 1997 A. Bitov is an Honorary Doctor of Yerevan State University and an Honorary Citizen of the City of Yerevan. A. Bitov – vice-president of the international association “World of Culture” (President – Fazil Iskander). A. Bitov – vice-president of the European intellectual community “Gulliver” with the center in Amsterdam. He is a member of the jury of the Pushkin Prize in Hamburg, a jury member of the Triumph Prize, a member of the State Prize Committee of the Russian Federation. In 1999, he was a jury member of the World essay contest in Weimar.
As for free time, A. Bitov says that over time, a hobby becomes a profession. The love of cinema led to the profession of a screenwriter and an actor, the love of the book – to participate in the design of their own books, the love of music – to the creation of Pushkin’s jazz, where the reading of A. Pushkin’s drafts is accompanied by jazz improvisation. In 1998-1999 Pushkin Jazz toured in New York, Berlin, St. Petersburg and Moscow. Dislike for monumental sculpture led to the idea of ”mini-monumentalism” (together with Rezo Gabriadze). As an example – a monument to Chizhik-Pyzhik in St. Petersburg, Zaytsu – in the village of Mikhailovskoye, etc. The very idea of reuniting the profession with a hobby led to the creation in 1991 of the informal association “BaGaZh” (Bitov, Akhmadulina, Aleshkovsky, Zhvanetsky and those who joined Yu. Rost, A. Velikanov, V. Tarasov, and others).
Lives and works in Moscow and St. Petersburg.