Central House of Writers (1960s)

Address: 53 Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street (previously Herzen Street), Moscow

Central House of Writers. Photo: bg.ru

Central House of Writers. Photo: bg.ru

Shalamov occasionally visited the Central House of Writers to meet with members of the literary intelligentsia who were interested in his work. Unexpected encounters also occurred. Shalamov, for example, met Heinrich Böll, who, as it turned out, had read a collection of Shalamov’s stories in German. Shalamov also attended the civil funeral services of Anna Akhmatova and Ilya Ehrenburg. Shalamov’s visits to the Central House of Writers revealed how alienated Shalamov felt from the literary elite and its manners. Arrogant behavior, passing fads, and power struggles disgusted him.

Shalamov in the 1960s. Photo: shalamov.ru

Shalamov in the 1960s. Photo: shalamov.ru

Perhaps due to this aversion, Shalamov did not become a member of the Writers’ Union until 1972, when he joined the Union in order to avoid censorship.

Sergei Solovyov