Luke Harding had an interesting piece (“Move over Tolstoy“) in the Guardian yesterday about Boris Akunin (aka Grigory Chkhartishvili) author of the Erast Fandorin novels (The Winter Queen, 2003; The Turkish Gambit, 2005; The Death of Achilles, 2006; Sister Pelagia and the White Bulldog, 2007). Described as “the country’s most successful contemporary author and in those terms the closest Russia has to JK Rowling,” Akunin got his start by the employing one of the classic principles of business: identify a need.
Akunin began writing in the 1990s for Russia’s new middle class. At the time, post-communist Russians had two choices of reading: classical masters such as Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy or pulp fiction.
Akunin spotted the gap. Realising, as he puts it, that every class needs a “literature it can read and enjoy”, he invented a new kind of detective genre set in imperial Russia.
Sure to be anthologized in the Russian edition of Writer’s Market, if such a thing exists.