Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya

Eufrosinia Kersnovskaia (1907-1994) spent twelve years as a prisoner in Soviet Gulag. She later detailed her experiences in a memoir - a unique work spanning 12 hand-written notebooks and 680 illustrations of striking quality.

Rights sold: Russia (Rosspen), Poland (Weltbild), Hungary (Mérték Kiadó), and Czech Republic (Euromedia).

Kersnovskaia's experiences reflect a tumultuous time in Russian history. Her family, members of the gentry, fled Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution and settled in Bessarabia. After Soviet forces arrived in 1940, she and her mother were turned out of their home and their possessions were seized by the state.

Eufrosinia was deported to Siberia as an "exile settler" and assigned to a logging brigade. An attempted escape, during which she traversed more than 900 miles of Siberian taiga alone and on foot before being captured, resulted in a death sentence. Though she refused to ask for clemency, her sentence was commuted to ten years' imprisonment in the Gulag. During her years in the camps, she adapted to work as a swineherd, a medical assistant, a morgue attendant, and a miner. In the process she both witnessed and experienced many atrocities and degradations, but nevertheless retained a sense of hope, decency, community, and vision.

After her release she settled in Yessentuki, a town in the Northern Caucasus, and penned her memoirs, which eventually comprised 12 notebooks and 680 illustrations. She made several copies (including the illustrations) by hand and entrusted them to others for safekeeping. Kersnovskaia envisioned the text and illustrations as an indivisible whole, a genre that perhaps lies somewhere between traditional Russian lubok engravings and the modern graphic novel.

The first comprehensive edition of Kersnovskaia's notebooks was published in 2006 by Rosspen in Russia as "The Price of Human Being"; Polish, Czech and Hungarian editions are due for publication in 2012. Graal Literary Agency, on behalf of the Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya's Estate, represents World Translation Rights to this extraordinary work.

Images

Please see the gallery below for sample pages from the original notebooks.
Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya, Bessarabia, the early-middle 1930s
Skolko stoit chelovek, image
Skolko stoit chelovek, image
Skolko stoit chelovek, image
Skolko stoit chelovek, image
Skolko stoit chelovek, image
Skolko stoit chelovek, image
Skolko stoit chelovek, image
Skolko stoit chelovek, image
Skolko stoit chelovek, image
Skolko stoit chelovek, image
Skolko stoit chelovek, image