Languages

Myra Thompson

In June 2008 I will graduate from Knox College with a BA in Creative Writing and Russian. I look forward to furthering my knowledge in both fields during the 2008-2009 academic year while working on a collection of short stories, in English, that will attempt to erode Cold-War-era stereotypes.

I first began to really consider these stereotypes during my 2007 semester studying abroad in Moscow. I was often asked what Americans thought about Russians. After much thought, I concluded that most Americans think Russian men are wool coats, unsmiling faces, vodka-reddened cheeks, and iconic fur hats playing chess all the bleak years of their life. The women are stoic supermodels, ice skaters, and gymnasts who one day put on a head scarf, becoming fat and old. And, of course, everyone is either KGB or Mafia. That was not the Russia I encountered – initially in literature, and then in person.

In my writing, I will explore the fabric of daily life in Moscow, looking particularly at the interactions between three segments of the society: those who remember Stalinist times; their children who grew up under Brezhnev; and their grandchildren who never knew a Soviet Union. I hope the complexity of these multigenerational relationships will undermine the simplicity of cultural stereotypes.

For the duration of the project I will be affiliated with Russian State University for Humanities. Throughout the year I look forward to pursuing my interest in photography, going to theaters and galleries, visiting with friends, and improving my craft.

The Fulbright Program in Russia. Institute of International Education.
Tverskoy Bul'var 14, building 1, 4th floor, Moscow, Russia 125009.
Tel: +7(495) 935-8353, Fax: +7(495) 937-5418. Contact: info@fulbright.ru