Winnie the Pooh in Russia

On World Book Day, our Public Programmes Manager Michael looks at Russian illustrations of Winnie the Pooh

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  • Michael Czerwinski
  • Feature

Did you know that Russian readers have always loved Winnie the Pooh?

I've spent the past few weeks working closely with Karina Karmenian, Director of the Russian Children's Book Festival, to develop a public discussion to launch her 2015 programme of events. The panel, hosted at House of Illustration on Tuesday 3 March, saw a fascinating discussion about the relationship between British and Russian children's book illustration, and a full appraisal of the content shared and issues raised is on its way.

Before that, though, it seems apt to acknowledge #WorldBookDay by sharing the fascinating and beautiful content that was brought to us by Olga Maeots, one of our invited panelists.

The panel discussion was initially intended to track the influence Soviet illustration has had on work produced in France and the UK.

But it transpires that this is a much more complicated story of cross-fertilisation. Amongst other British children's literature classics, the Russians have a deep-rooted and continuous love for the work of A. A. Milne. Winnie the Pooh is a major figure within Russian children storytelling culture.

Here is a selection of 20th Century and more recent illustrated interpretations of familiar characters we perhaps naively think are exclusively ours to cherish.

Olga Maeots is Head of the Children’s Literature Department at the All-Russian Library for Foreign Literature RUDOMINO and Assistant Professor in the Department of Illustration at Moscow University of Print.

Michael Czerwinski
Public Programmes Manager