Alexander Tsypkin is a Russian author, screenwriter, producer, and philanthropist.
He is best known for writing four collections of short stories, which have sold more than 300,000 hardcover copies. Together with George Orwell (Animal Farm) and Gregory David Roberts (Shantaram), Tsypkin was named one of the ten best-selling authors of 2018. He is the founder and the leading performer of the literary-theatrical project, ‘UnprinTSYpled Readings’ where Russia’s leading actors perform on stage his and other contemporary writer’s short stories in theaters all over the world.
He has written multiple well-received short films which were screened by film festivals all around the world, including one of the sections of Anna Melikyan’s popular film ‘About Love – Adults Only’ which starred John Malkovich and Ingeborga Dapkunaite.
In November 2019, the ballet ‘Three Comrades?’ based on a play by Tsypkin, written in collaboration with noted Russian ballet master Yuri Smekalov premiered at the Shelter Komedianta theater in St. Petersburg.
In 2020 the one-act ballet ‘Palimpsest. Rewritten,’ which featured a fragment of a story by Tsypkin, premiered at Mariinsky Ballet directed by Yuri Smekalov set to the music of Hungarian composer Bela Bartok.‘Palimpsest’, written specifically for the occasion, starred Mariinsky Ballet’s principal dancer, Vladimir Shklyarov.
Alexander is on the board of the ‘Butterfly Children Foundation’ which helps children who suffer from epidermolysis bullosa (a disease that affects the skin and mucous membranes). He also serves on the board of the ‘Cancer Prevention Foundation’, an organization dedicated to reducing cancer mortality in Russia.
Early life and education
Born in 1975 in Leningrad to a family of doctors, he graduated from the Faculty of International Relations of St. Petersburg State University. After finishing school, he worked as a strategic communications expert with several large Russian companies. During this period, he received several distinguished prizes, including 2 Proba-IPRA Golden World Awards.
In 2015, he made his debut as a writer and in the theater. His collection of lyrical and hooligan stories ‘The Women of Unbending Age’, became the best-selling satirical book in Russia in 2015. It was ranked first place in the category of Russian prose by the organization of Moscow bookstore chains, setting a record for the amount of time spent (5 years) in the top 20.
In December 2017 and in December of 2019 his new released books ‘House of Goodbyes’ and ‘The Girl Who Always Laughed Last both reached top positions in prestigious Russian literary ratings.
The combined circulation of his 300 books has totaled more than 300,000 copies. Tsypkin’s stories have been translated into English, French, German, Bulgarian, Latvian and Chinese. He is currently collaborating with American Writer/Director Paul Lazarus (Friends, Melrose Place) on American transpositions of several of his short stories. The English (with an American slant) version of his stories will be featured both as a recorded audio book and in print.
He is also the founder and the leading performer of the literary-theatrical project, ‘UnprinTSYpled Readings’ where Russia’s best actors perform contemporary Russian prose on stage together with writers.
To date, 55 actors have performed in this piece 220 times in 12 countries before more than 150,000 spectators. Alexander has appeared in most of these shows reading his own work. The list of actors includes Konstantin Khabensky who co-starred with Angelina Jolie in the film ‘Wanted,’ Ksenia Rappaport who starred in the Golden Lion nominated movie La Doppia Ora, for which she won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the 66th Venice Film Festival, Mikhail Gorevoy known for his role in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Bridge of Spies,’ and Danila Kozlovskiy highly regarded for her work on ‘Vikings,’ Ingeborga Dapkunaite who played in Seven Years in Tibet (1997), among many other noteworthy thespians.
Alexander began writing screenplays when Russian director Anna Melikyan asked him to write one of the sections of her blockbuster film ‘About Love – Adults Only’ which starred John Malkovich and Ingeborga Dapkunaite. He has written several well-received short films that were screened by film festivals all around the world. “Farewell, My Love” won the Special Critics Award’ at Kinotavr 2018, and was officially selected by the Academy Award-Qualifying Festival in Sydney, Australia - Flickerfest 2019. The short also received the Golden Unicorn Award and was featured in the 2018 Russian Film Week Festival of major new work. ‘Dark as Night. Anna Karenina 2019’ won best music video award at the Prague Independent Film Festival (PIFF) 2019, best short film and best supporting role awards at the Vienna Independent Film Festival (VIFF) 2019 and best cinematography award at Moscow Shorts International Film Festival 2019.
Alexander is currently developing a television series entitled ‘Unprincipled’ for one of Russia’s leading production entities. The show is based on his short stories and is directed by the Roman Prygunov.
- ‘Russian Barca’. Directed by Jovan Stamatovic-Karichgodu.
- ‘She's a girl, she can do anything.’ Solo performance by Mikhail Morozov.
- ‘Three Comrades?’ Ballet based on the play by Alexander Tsypkin, written in collaboration with the Russian choreographer Yuri Smekalov at the St. Petersburg theater "Shelter of the Comedian".
- “Burnt in the USSR”, a performance based on the stories of Alexander Tsypkin. Directed by Grigory Artamonov.
- One-act ballet ‘Palimpsest. Rewritten’, premiered at Mariinsky Ballet directed by Yuri Smekalov to the music of the Hungarian composer of the 20th century Bela Bartok. The text of the new story by Alexander Tsypkin, written especially for the premiere, is woven into the canvas of the performance. Ballet stars Mariinsky Ballet’s principal dancer Vladimir Shklyarov.
Alexander is also known for his journalistic work. He has interviewed Charlotte Gainsbourgh, Alexander Ovechkin, Natalia Vodyanova and Elizabeth Gilbert among many others for such publications as Cosmopolitan Russia, Esquire, Marie Clair, Harper’s Bazaar and others.
Alexander is on the board of the ‘Butterfly Children Foundation’ which helps children who suffer from epidermolysis bullosa (a disease that seriously affects the skin and mucous membranes). He also serves on the board of the ‘Cancer Prevention Foundation,” an organization dedicated to reducing cancer mortality in Russia.’
A brand partner for Porsche since 2017, Alexander Tsypkin is also a brand ambassador for S.T. Dupont and American Express.
Quotes from reviews:
‘His stories are gulped in one go and just stay there. Today, when long and big-scale works have but lost all chances of being read, short-story masters who perfect the most complicated form of literature have got a unique opportunity to influence the readers and change their inner world...Brilliantly written, sad and funny, with their words these stories bring us back the meanings, and with the meanings, we regain emotions and caring about people’.
The founder and director of the Multimedia Art Museum Olga Sviblova
Alexander Tsypkin’s book presents a wonderful chance to understand today’s Russia from within. It comprises a multitude of diverse stories, amazing, juicy and always kind. One can trace this young author’s lineage to de La Fontaine’s fables, Balzac’s ‘Human comedy’ and the wit of Sacha Guitry who, too, was born in St.Petersburg. This one is a very contemporary and very Russian book that reminds us that Russians can and love laughing, first of all, at themselves.
Former adviser to the president of France Jacques Chirac, director of the French Institute in St.Petersburg and Cultural attache of the French Embassy in Russia
‘Alexander Tsypkin’s stories amaze with their staggering nakedness of a masterfully depicted world of a St.Petesrburg slacker. It seems that never before in the history of Russian prose has anyone spoken with such humor and freedom on major serious topics that are very exciting for us today’.
Artistic director of the ‘Stanislavsky electric theatre’ Boris Yukhananov
‘For me, Alexander Tsypkin is the Leningrad’s Isaac Babel’
Pyotr Semak, an Honoured Artist of Russia, actor of ‘MDT - Theatre of Europe
‘One thing is obvious - Tsypkin combines in his short novellas brilliant humor and deep emotions in a remarkable manner, at the same time he is delicate even when he is writing on seemingly taboo subjects. Some sentences from Tsypkin’s stories are so rich, flashy and self-sufficient that they may easily have a life of their own’.
The Russian newspaper
‘Tsypkin’s stories have that thing that I value most in literature and gastronomy - the stuffing. Inside laughter, there’s always sadness, in every drama, there is a smile.
Alexander Malenkov, Editor-in-Chief of Maxim Russian Edition.
‘Life writes bang-up plots. The author outstripped me and millions of other people by turning these plots into short stories’.
Polina Sokhranova, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan Russia
‘Life in Alexander Tsypkin’s stories is light and nonchalant. Sometimes its lightness is unbearable. Still, in every short story, there is lust for the harmony lost, for the quiet caressing of humanity. And we understand that, no matter how comic they look, people in his texts are not just pictures, not mere pawns. They must be cared for and loved.’
Writer and linguist Andrey Astvatsaturov