Viktor Martinowitsch

from Dec 1, 2016 – May 31, 2017

Viktor Martinowitsch
  • Country: Belarus
  • Born: 1977
  • Latest publication:
    Mova (in German: Voland & Quist 2016) translated from the Belarusian into German by Thomas Weiler
  • Awards:
    2012 Maksim Bahdanovič Prize for the Internet novel Icy South; Longlist for the Russian National Bestseller Prize 2013 for the novel Sphagnum

‘So she quickly unfolded the note in her hand. The writing was so small that we had to put our heads close together. That felt good. It was handwritten in letters of different sizes with distortions like the captchas used for online security. I now know that this is to fool mobile scanners, but at the time it surprised me. The text was in rhyme and very beautiful. The first time I read it I could not understand about a third of the words, but I read it through again and got the trip. As so often with Mova texts, it is firmly stored in my brain and will still be there when I am already dead.’ From: Mova (translated from German by Catherine Hales).




“A language with a powerful pull effect”

Victor Martinovich was born in 1977 and studied Journalism and Art History in Minsk. His first novel, Paranoia, (Northwestern University Press 2013, translated from the Russian by Diane Nemec Ignashev), was unofficially banned in his homeland upon publication. “The novel is set in a city which corresponds in every detail to present-day Minsk. The challenge to the regime was obvious, and the novel vanished from the shelves after two days,” wrote Timothy Snyder, an expert on Eastern Europe, in an essay praising the novel in the New York Review of Books.

Сцюдзёнывырай (Icy South) was published exclusively as an e-book in 2011 and, according to the author, is still the most downloaded Belarusian novel. Mova, Martinovich’s fourth novel, is set in the year 4741 by the Chinese calendar in Minsk under Chinese-Russian rule and is about a drug of letters which has put the city into state of turmoil. Martinovich’s language has been described as having “a powerful pull effect”.

Viktor Martinovich teaches political science at the European Humanities University in Vilnius and writes regularly for ZEIT online. In 2014 he was a visiting fellow of Vienna’s Institute for Human Sciences and had a residential fellowship in the Literarisches Colloquium in Berlin 2015.