Victor Martinovich, writer, art historian, journalist
Born 9-th of September 1977, in Oshmiany (Belarus).
1994-1999 – Belarussian State University, BA.
1999-2002 – BSU’s Postgraduate courses, history of art criticism studies. Developed thesis on Vitebsk’s avant-garde of 1920-s, its social and cultural context and Soviet media criticism.
2008. Defended PhD thesis on Vitebsk’s art school at Vilnius’ academy of fine arts. Focus of the thesis – representation of Vitebsk’s avant-garde (Marc Chagall, Kazimir Malevich and others) in news-papers of 1920s.
The first novel called “Paranoia” was written in Russian and published in Russian publishing house AST in 2009. It came under the ban in Belarus immediately after its publication. In this dystopian story we see the classical love triangle involving a young dissident intellectual, wealthy girl and a high ranking KGB officer. After the ban of the text, book was scanned by enthusiast and uploaded to every pirate e-library you can find in Russian Internet. Book became very well-known, thousands of people downloaded it but this brought no visible financial success to the author. Text has been twice positively reviewed by New York Times Books Review in 2009 and 2013.
2012 Paranoia was published in Finland.
2013 North Western university Press (US, Chicago) published English translation of Paranoia, prepared by Diane Nemec Ignashev, Carleton’s professor of slavistics.
2014 German translation of Paranoia is published by Voland und Quist and received enormously positive critics in Frankfurter allgemeine zeitung, Tagesspiegel and German Culture radio.
2011 published the second novel, Cold paradise. Text was written in Belarussian language and appeared in the Internet only (author stated, that he is “tired of playing “to ban or not to ban game” with the state). It pioneered the way to non-paper editions for Belarussian writers and until now remains the most downloaded example of fiction writings in Belarussian segment of the Internet. Cold Paradize is a political thriller and literary puzzle at the same time – it tells us a story of a girl who fled from the country after a long hunt by local secret services. She lives in Istanbul and meets a handsome stranger who pretends to be American with Belarussian roots, but appears to be affiliated with Belarus in a slightly different way. Narration guides us through the series of episodes that totally destroy our first impression of what could be a nice love story.
The third novel, Sphagnum, was presented to public 2013 and surprisingly didn’t come under the ban. It not only appeared on the book shelves of state-owned shops, but also became best-selling novel in Belarussian language, leader of the charts during couple of months. Together with good sales it received positive critics inside Belarus. Agents and publishers have called this novel “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in the Belarusian province” and put into the “gangster comedy” niche, but its also intellectual “anti-detective” story. We see the classical murder and we observe very strange actions of authorities, that do not look for the killer, but feverishly search for a person, who can be proclaimed a killer, no matter, guilty he is or not.
The forth Martinovich’s novel is Mova 墨瓦. Itappeared Autumn 2014 both on paper and at the Internet. It holds the bestselling positions for 6 months by now. First ciculation of Mova 墨瓦 was sold out for one week, no publishers are preparing the 4th printing.
Originally written in Belarussian, it was translated to Russian by Lidia Mikheeva. It appeared in German Voland und Quist November, 2016. The set is in future, where no such state as Belarus, there is only Russian China. China triads and the State drug control hunt for remaining pieces of ancient Belarussian language (all the books on this language are destroyed by the Russian Chineese state decades ago) and people use the fragments of the vanished literature as a drug, to get higher. In this story Shakespeare is well mixed with skirmishes of Chinese triads, future – with sharp topics from current European political agenda, gangsters are interlaced with freedom fighters and love is spiced with blood and intrigue. In this story Shakespeare is well mixed with skirmishes of Chinese triads, future – with sharp topics from current European political agenda, gangsters are interlaced with freedom fighters and love is spiced with blood and intrigue. Mova proclaimed to be the “book
Lake of Joy
The 5th novel composed in Russian and published simultaneously in Russia (VREMIA Publishing House) and in Belarus (Knihasbor publishers), on two languages. Belarussian translation has been done by Vitaly Ryzhkov. Novel is named after one of the minor Moon craters and tells a story of a girl from rich and affiliated with government family. Main hero named Jasia is dramatically mistreated by her own father. Strange and perverted relations inside family push Jasia away from the beaten paths of yuppies to the fate of half crime and outcast.
After one month of sales the novel became the year bestseller in biggest book selling chain BelKniga (citydog.by/post/zaden_bestcellers) overcoming even the Nobel winning Svetlana Alexievich. Starting with quite big for Belarus initial run of 1500 copies, it was republished a number of times during first 3 months of sales making it the best selling Martinovich’s novel ever. September 2016 Lake of Joy were nominated to Russian Prize – one of the most prestigious Russian literary awards.
Teaching and research
Current job position – associate professor of European humanities University Vilnius. Courses taught: art history, introduction to Russian avant garde, creative writing, comparative politics, media and politics. Victor Martinovich also annually gives a guest lectures at IWM, Vilnius’ University and Belarus’ Collegium.
2014 October-December. Visiting fellow of Vienna’s Institute for human sciences. The aim of the fellowship was composing the monograph dedicated to Marc Chagall’s years in Vitebsk.
2010-2011. Head of political sciences department of European Humanities University. Has been on this administrative position for 3 semesters, then decided to leave to focus more on writings.
2008 (September). Received a position of assistant professor of European Humanities University.
2008 (July) PhD dissertation defense.
2006 Joined EHU Vilnius as a lecturer and postgraduate.
2003 failed to defend a dissertation on Vitebsk’s avant-garde in Belarus due to active political dissident position and numerous explicit expressions and publications about Alexander Luckashenko and his Soviet-type ideology and way of rule.
2000 Joined Belgazeta – an independent weekly intellectual broadsheet that reflected Belarussian political, social and cultural life in a way that disturbed the authorities. Started as the editor of political and social department of Belgazeta, then in 2003 received a position of deputy editor in chief.
1999. Entered postgraduate courses of Belarussian State University. As a postgraduate researcher of State University, received an access to Vitebsk’s archives that documented the story of Marc Chagall life in this city. Also, obtained a written permission to work in Presidential library (depositary with limited access), which has a unique data about Marc Chagall activities in 1918-1920s.
Significant scientific publications (art history and criticism):
Martinovich V. Russian avant-garde of the beginning of 20th century as a phenomenon of global culture // NIRS 2000 // Grodno’s university, Grodno. -Chapter 3. – Pp. 25-47.
Martinovich V. 5 years of silence. Vitebsk’s press of 1920-s about art avant-garde movement in the city (1918-1922). Collection of articles published by Belarussian state university, 2002. Minsk. 35-58 pp.
Vitebsk’s avant-garde representation on the pages of Mastactva magazine (1980-1990’s). Materials of the conference / BSU, 2000.
Martinovich V. Cultural backgrounds of Vitebsk’s avant-garde. // Belarussian state university’s collection of articles, 2002. BSU, Minsk. 2002. 24-36 pp.
Typology of Vitebsk’s press of 1917-1922 // Collection of scientific articles “Contemporary aspects of media studies”. Belarussianstateuniversity, Minsk, 2003.
Martinovich V. Vitebsk’s press of 1920-s about art avant-garde. BSUpost. Chapter 4. – 2003. – N3. 93-97 pp.
Martinovich V. What made Vitebsk’s avant-garde: causes that created phenomena //Acta Academiae Artium Vilensis. 2007.
V. Martinovich. Nepriklausomos žiniasklaidos vaidmuo Baltarusijos alternatyvaus viešumo kūryboje. Journalism Research/Žurnalistikos tyrimai. – Nr.3. 2011.
Martinovich V. Strategies of constructing of Vitebsk’s myth in first Russian translation of Chagall’s autobiographical book Ma Vie // Colletction of articles of BSU. Minsk: РИВШ, 2014. – С.106 -113.
Martinovich V. Mimetic and symbolic in Vitebsk’s myth about Chagall: logoepistemic fragments in autobiographic discourse // Collection of articles done by Moscow’s state university. Филологический факультет МГУ имени М.В. Ломоносова. Москва. 4-5 декабря 2014 года.
Books (art history and criticism):
Marc Chagall in Vitebsk in 1914-1920s (EHU, 2015)
Chapters of books (art criticism)
An introduction to the album of images by American photographer Bill Crandall, “Waiting Room”.