Poet, satirist, literary critic, novelist, and media personality Dmitry Bykov (2022–) is one of Russia’s best-known public intellectuals. He has authored more than 70 books, including novels, poetry, biographies, and literary criticism.
Bykov is Ithaca City of Asylum‘s eighth artist in residence. He is supported by a fellowship from the Open Society University Network and is hosted at the Institute for European Studies in the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell.
Known for his wit, he is a popular lecturer and public speaker and has served as the host of numerous television and radio programs.
He is also an outspoken critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin. In April 2019, he fell ill while on an airplane flight and spent five days in a coma. An investigation by the news organization Bellingcat found that the symptoms were very similar to those suffered by opposition politician Alexei Navalny and that the same government agents who poisoned Navalny had also been following him.
He remained in Russia after the incident, but he has been banned from teaching at universities there or appearing on state radio or television.
Bykov says he would rather be known for his writing and teaching than for his poisoning or politics. He is a four-time winner of the International Award in the Field of Fantastic Literature, a three-time winner of the Fiction International Assembly Award, and a three-time winner of the Bolshaya Kniga (Big Book) award, one of Russia’s most prestigious literary prizes. He has held teaching positions at Princeton and UCLA as well as at universities in Russia.