Stalin and the writers

Filed under: Biography

Simon Sebag-Montefiore on Stalin's relationship with writers.


Over the past decade, Simon Sebag-Montefiore has established himself as one of our most distinguished and psychologically acute historians. His award-winning books have been translated into more than 35 languages, and Jerusalem, published earlier this year, shot straight to the top of the non-fiction bestseller charts. This evening, he returns to the figure at the centre of two of his earlier works, Young Stalin and Stalin: the Court of the Red Tsar. Born in poverty, the man who was to create the USSR and to become responsible for the deaths of countless millions was hailed when young as a romantic poet, and his love of literature stayed with him until his death in 1953. In a talk chaired by Colin Thubron, who has been drawn repeatedly to the former Soviet Union in his travels, Sebag Montefiore explores Stalin’s treatment of writers and their work, and considers the effects on himself as a writer of spending several years in the company of a man whom he describes as ‘part-intellectual, part-brigand’. Chaired by Colin Thubron

Recorded on Monday 5 December 2011.

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Simon Sebag-Montefiore 2003