The Vodka Room: Russian Book Club


Photograph of Russian booksOverview:
Explore Russian literature and its national character through Russian books. In this course you will discover the diversity and complexity of Russian poetry and prose with a chance to share your favourite works with the group. You will read English translations, though some may choose to read parallel texts (in both English and Russian). The discussions and lectures are in English. Poems and stories to be shared will be chosen by each participant and by the presenter.

Target audience:
This Russian literature course is suitable for anyone who is interested in Russia and its language and culture and who enjoys reading and discussing Russian authors, both contemporary and classic.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this course you will have:

  • Learnt about the main Russian literature styles, époques and the main Russian authors
  • Read and discussed several well-known Russian poems and stories
  • Shared your favourite passages from Russian books
  • Gained knowledge of Russian culture and way of life and about New Zealand–Russia connections.

Course outline:
Each session will include an introductory lecture with group discussion and opportunities for participants to share favourite Russian poems or stories they have chosen.

Session 1: Introduction to Russian literature.
Session 2: Russian Folklore (fairy tales, myths, byliny)
Session 3: Russian Poetry, the Golden and Silver Ages.
Session 4: Russian Prose. 18th – 19th Century
Session 5: Russian Prose. 20th – 21st Century
Session 6: Summary and discussion

There is a short break halfway through each session and you are welcome to bring your own refreshments if you wish.

Dr Olga Suvorova has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from one of the leading international universities, Lomonosov Moscow State University, and a MA in Linguistics (Distinction). She is the immediate past President of the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters, Wellington Branch (2016-2018).

“The course was varied in content & interesting for those with an interest in Russia. Olga is an engaging presenter who gave us a real feeling for things Russian”, Russia Today: Power, passion and pain participant (2017)

“Olga is an enthusiastic and energetic teacher which inspires and motivates you. She created a wonderful ambience for the course. Whilst the language is quite challenging to learn, Olga created an environment in which everyone felt comfortable participating”, An Introduction to Russian Language and Culture participant (2018)

Relevant links:
School of Languages and Cultures
Russian Keys

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140.
Phone 04 463 6556,  Email:

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date and arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.