Gary Shteyngart


Gary Shteyngart (born Igor Semyonovich Shteyngart; July 5, 1972) is an American writer born in Leningrad, USSR. Much of his work is satirical and relies on the invention of elaborately fictitious yet somehow familiar places and times.

Shteyngart spent the first seven years of his childhood living in a square dominated by a huge statue of Vladimir Lenin in what is now St. Petersburg, Russia; (he alternately calls it "St. Leningrad" or "St. Leninsburg"). He comes from a Jewish family and describes his family as typically Soviet. His father worked as an engineer in a LOMO camera factory; his mother was a pianist. Shteyngart immigrated to the United States in 1979 and was brought up with no television in the apartment in which he lived, where English was not the household language. He did not shed his thick Russian accent until the age of 14.[3]

Shteyngart took a trip to Prague, and this experience helped spawn his first novel, set in the fictitious European city of Prava. He is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School[4] in New York City, Oberlin College in Ohio, where he earned a degree in politics, and Hunter College of the City University of New York, where he earned an MFA in Creative Writing.

Shteyngart now lives in the Gramercy neighborhood of Manhattan. He has taught writing at Hunter College, and currently teaches writing at Columbia University.

Gary Shteyngart had a fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany, for Fall 2007.[5]

Shteyngart is married to Esther Won who is of Korean descent. In October 2013, they became parents to Johnny Won Shteyngart. [6]


Shteyngart's work has received numerous awards. The Russian Debutante's Handbook won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction, the Book-of-the-Month Club First Fiction Award and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. It was named a New York Times Notable Book and one of the best debuts of the year by The Guardian [7] In 2002, he was named one of the five best new writers by Shout NY Magazine. Absurdistan was chosen as one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review and Time magazine, as well as a book of the year by the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and many other publications. In June 2010, Shteyngart was named as one of The New Yorker magazine's "20 under 40" luminary fiction writers.[8]Super Sad True Love Story won the 2011 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic literature.


Shteyngart's novels include The Russian Debutante's Handbook (2002), Absurdistan (2006), and Super Sad True Love Story (2010). His other writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Slate, Granta, Travel and Leisure, and The New York Times.

His latest book, Little Failure: A Memoir, was published by Random House in January, 2014, thirty-five years after Gary emigrated to the U.S.[9]


Shteyngart has also become known for his prolific blurbing, which has inspired a Tumblr devoted to his Collected Blurbs[10] , a live reading,[11] and a fifteen-minute documentary narrated by Jonathan Ames.[12]

SOURCE:  Wikipedia

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