My inspiration for I, Putin (Vladimir Putin novel) stems from when I was living in a small village in Estonia as a Peace Corps volunteer in the year 2000. The Russian submarine, the Kursk, exploded with 118 sailors aboard. Newly elected president Vladimir Putin was at the helm of this crisis and chose unorthodox ways (unorthodox to a Westerner at least) to react. This was Putin’s first tragedy as president, and as I watched the situation unravel, I thought to myself: “Who is Vladimir Putin and what makes him tick?” Thus, I dedicated the next seven years to reading (in English) everything I could about Putin. From 2007-2009, I completed a Masters degree at NYU, where Putin was my focus. My studies culminated in this novel and a thesis studying Putin’s KGB mentality. I spent three and a half years writing the novel, including workshopping it at the Algonkian Conferences.
I am not a supporter nor a critic of Vladimir Putin. But I do find him, his journey to power and his life fascinating, as I’m sure you will too. Thank you for your support, and I hope you enjoy my debut novel.
Jennifer Ciotta is the author of I, Putin, which won Honorable Mentions at the New York Book Festival & Hollywood Book Festival, 2012. It is her debut novel. She has had short stories published in Del Sol Review and New Voices in Fiction. Besides her writing career, she is a book manuscript editor at Pencey X Pages and an advisory editor at Author Salon, a writers community that connects writers, agents and publishing house editors. She holds a Masters degree in creative writing and Russian studies from the Gallatin School at New York University.