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Victor Martinovich

Victor Martinovich

area: Literature

Key Facts






Minsk, Vilnius (LTU)

recommending institution


time period

July 2019 - August 2019


1994-1999 – Belarussian State University, BA

1999-2002 – BSU’s doctorate, history of art criticism studies. Developed thesis on Vitebsk’s avant-garde (Marc Chagall, Kazimir Malevich) of 1920-s, its social and cultural context and art criticism. At the same time became a head of political department of independent intellectual weekly, Belgazeta. Media was rather critical to government and president Luckashenko. This was a reason why doctoral defence in Belarus has never happened.

In 2006 moved to Vilnius (Lithuania), started cooperation with European Humanities University. EHU, formerly the only private university in Belarus, was expelled from this country in 2004 and settled in EU.

2008. Defended PhD 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) in news-papers media discourses of 1920s.

Teaching and research

Current job position - associate professor of European Humanities University Vilnius.

Courses taught: Creative writing, Drama and Composition, History of fine arts, Public policy process, Politics and new medias.

2016-2017 was a resident of Literaturhaus Zurich, writer-in-residence in Switzerland. Wrote a fiction novel The Night published September 2018.

2015 (April), resident of Literarische Colloquium Berlin (Germany).

2014 October-December. Visiting research fellow at Vienna's Institute for human sciences. Composed the monograph dedicated to Marc Chagall's years in Vitebsk.

2010-2011. Head of political sciences department of European Humanities University.

2008 (September). Received a position of assistant professor of European Humanities University.

2008 (July) PhD dissertation defence.

2006 Joined EHU Vilnius as a lecturer and postgraduate.

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.

Significant articles, public lectures and readings

October 2018 (scheduled). Issyk-Kul, Kirgizia. Lecture on 3rd Issyk-Kul International Forum on topic: “Literature after post modern and new humanism”.

December 2017. Evangelische Akademie Tutzing (Bavaria, Germany), reading on Heroes of Our Time.

April 2017. Public talk in Zurich’ Literaturhaus “Is Mova addictive”?

May 2017. Kölner Literaturhaus gestiftet (Cologne, Germany). Public presentation of literary correspondence between Viktor Martinowitsch and Georg Klein in the frames of FRAGILE project.

German Die ZEIT, September 2016, article on totalitarian linguistics: Viktor Martinowitsch. Crashkurs in totalitärer Linguistik.

Martinovich V. What made Vitebsk’s avant-garde: causes that created phenomena //Acta Academiae Artium Vilensis. 2007.
Martinovich V. Strategies of constructing of Vitebsk's myth in first Russian translation of Chagall's autobiographical book Ma Vie // Collection 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):

Rodina. Marc Chagall in Vitebsk (illustrated) New Literary Observation, Moscow, 2017. Monograph reconstructs in detail miserable years Marc Chagall spent in his home town after returning from Paris in 1914. After he accepted the proposal of Lenin’s Minister of culture and education, “narkom Lunacharski” to head art department in Soviet administration of Red Vitebsk, Chagall met all the possible trouble he could expect and failed all the matters he


Two plays are currently in Belarussian theatres. “The Dr. Raus Career” narrates a picture of contemporary world in which nobody knows what paper book is. Nobody has ever invented a printed book or wrote one. A protagonist of this play is young enthusiast who tries to present idea of book publishing to IT venture investors who are quite sceptical about the necessity of such unpractical thing.  The second play, “Mamma Bona!” is biopic of Renaissance Italian Queen Bona Sforza who in XVI century headed the rural state, Great Duchy of Lithuania, and brought a touch of Shakespearean intrigues and cruelty in it.

Wrote number of mini-plays for Ganymed theater in Vienna which were on scene in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum and Historical Museum of Innsbruck.


Author of 6 novels translated to Russian, English, German, Finnish, Polish. Contact person for literary rights is Thomas Wiedling from Wiedling Literary Agency (

Books (Literature, fiction)


Debut novel written in Russian, published in Russia's AST 2009. Came under the ban immediately after its publication. Dystopian story with classical love triangle involving a young dissident intellectual, wealthy girl and a high ranking KGB officer. In 2013 published by North Western University press, text has been twice positively reviewed by New York Times Books Review (2009) and (2013). 2012 Paranoia was published in Finland. 2014 German translation of Paranoia published by Voland und Quist, critics were positive at Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Tagesspiegel and German Culture radio. 2017. Paranoia’s paperback released by BTB (department of Random House).

Cold paradise

2011. Text was written in Belarussian language, appeared in the Internet only (author stated, that he is “tired of playing “to ban or not to ban game” with the state). Pioneered the way to non-paper editions for Belarussian writers, remains the most downloaded book of fiction writings in Belarussian segment of Internet until now. Cold Paradise is a political thriller and literary puzzle at the same time – it tells a story of a girl who fled from the country after a long hunt by local secret service.


Third novel, Sphagnum, presented to public 2013. Became bestselling after it was officially allowed to sell in the books stores. Film based on Sphagnum is currently in production with participation of German and Polish producers.

Mova 墨瓦

Appeared Autumn 2014. Held bestselling positions in the country for 6 months (first circulation of Mova 墨瓦  was sold-out in one week, there were 3 more runs). Appeared in German Voland und Quist November, 2016, paperback rights sold to

Random’s House BTB (release Spring, 2019).
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 state decades ago). 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 feelings are spiced with blood and intrigue.

Lake of Joy

5th novel composed in Russian and published simultaneously in Russia (Vremia Publishing House) and in Belarus (Knihazbor publishers), in two languages. German NUR Film bought the rights to filming this story, film was finished Autumn 2018 and chosen for main program of Festival in Clermont Ferrand (France). Cinematic trailer is here: 


6th novel, Published in Belarus October 2018. Received positive critics and attracted a lot of attention: autograph session lasted hours, people were waiting in long lines on the streets to enter the book shop it was conducted. Russian rights sold to AST Shubina Department - leading publisher for intellectual prose. Night is story that presents itself to be a post-ap but indeed is a philosophical reflection on current problems of humanities. Night is an uncanny mixture of playfulness and seriousness, ideas and action, high, low, and in the middle. This book is hard to classify, even by postmodern standards.  Part tongue-in-cheek post-apocalyptic dystopia, part modern picaresque tale, part philosophical parable and social commentary, meant to be readable, entertaining, popular, but also serious and demanding.  There is a touch of Pynchon here, of Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, but even more of Candide, Gulliver, Don Quixote, Tom Jones, and the whole tradition of the 18th century philosophical “road novel.”

Project info

This text might be quite short and consist of only one letter: Vienna is the best city to get literary inspiration. I have just published my latest fiction novel (Night, 2019) and my heart and spirit are drained: there are no emotions or thoughts or whatever eligible for thinking about a new plot, giving birth to new characters. I dream to come to Vienna to visit its museums, the opera, parks and concert halls to get myself full again. I think it was Martin Heidegger who wrote in the Origin of the Work of Art that to create its own world, the Artist should get full of experience of surrounding "things". So, my plan is to come to Vienna and to hunt for a muse. In a way fiction writers never rest. Nevertheless, from time to time you have to travel far and pretend you are out of your daily routines to sharpen your attention to the world again. At the same time, in case there are no muses around, I have to re-read and edit my next big text, a novel called Revolution. It is set in Moscow of middle of 2000-s, it is kind of a political thriller, but on its bottom you will find a lot of reflections about the very nature of [political] power in a Nietzschean way. This novel is scheduled to get published in Germany (Voland und Quist) for Autumn, 2020. This September I will submit it to my Russian publisher. I have been working on Revolution for more than 10 years, since 2019, so it will really be nice to get it finished in the city of Vienna, during my stay on your Writer-in-Residence program. Last but not least - while I stayed in Vienna for 3 months in 2014 writing my book on Marc Chagall with generous help of Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (the book was published in Russia in 2016), I got very much influenced by Pieter Bruegel. I came to see Hunters on the Snow every week. Somehow I got hooked on Bruegel - as many others before me (and - I'm sure - many others after). Last October I came to Vienna together with Belarussian students of the European Humanities University to attend this famous exhibition in Kunsthistorisches Museum. I was dreaming to do something on Bruegel: my text, EHU's student's design or theatrical performance - as a tribute to a gala event of the artist who impressed us so much. I do not exactly know what it is in me that makes me write. But what I see and understand is that this inner entity is very much affected by any new place I have an opportunity to experience. That's why I really hope to find myself in Vienna in Summer, 2019.


My initial aim was to edit a big novel I'm supposed to submit to Russian editors in September. The title of the novel is Revolution, the set is in 2000' Moscow. It is scheduled for publication in Germany for Autumn 2020. But when I came to Vienna and got involved in all the activities proposed by MQ, met my old friends, including colleagues from Ganymed theater, a couple of new ideas arose. The biggest by now – is preparing the play for Ganymed in Power project which will take place 2020 in KHM. Thanks to opportunity to visit KHM daily (it’s just around the corner), I got really aware of the picture I need.

There is one more big idea, very promising, which I’m in right now developing – a text with Vienna's setting, a novel revolving around Vienna's sense of beauty.

I’m really happy being invited to this residence. Yes, it might be quite loud at nights in the area, yes, sometimes it prevents sleeping, but it’s the same with any big city in the world. Also, the less I sleep, the more I write ☺

From common activities I was invited to by MQ I liked most our gathering, where all artists presented their works and the dance performance by Artist-in-Residence Frédéric Gies called «Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere». Actually, I liked it that much, that I’m planning to include the feedback on this performance in the novel I’m currently on.

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