Blenheim Palace Literary Festival

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Host: Blenheim Palace Literary Festival
Location: St Mary Magdalene Church, Rectory Lane, Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1UQ
Speaker: Orlando Figes

Orlando Figes tells the remarkable story of Lev and Sveta, a Muscovite couple who were first separated by the Second World War and then when Lev was sent to the Gulag on arbitrary charges. Amazingly, Lev and Sveta were able to smuggle letters to each other and occasionally meet during Lev’s ten years in an Arctic camp. The entire correspondence, the largest cache of Gulag letters ever found, has survived. Figes was given access to thousands of letters and interviewed the couple, then in their nineties, for Just Send Me Word. It makes for a fascinating and agonising account of life in Stalin’s Russia. Figes will talk about the book and introduce some of the letters, which will be read by actors.

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