LIBERTY PRIZE – 2000
Mikhail Naumovich Epshtein is an American literary theorist and critical thinker. He is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Cultural Theory and Russian Literature at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He has authored 15 books and approximately 400 essays and articles, translated into 14 languages (in library catalogs they are listed under his Russian surname Epshtein).
His areas of specialization include postmodernism, cultural theory, Russian literature and intellectual history, contemporary philosophical and religious thought, ideas and electronic media, and interdisciplinary approaches in the humanities. Professor Epstein is also an expert on Russian philosophers of the 19th and 20th century as well as Soviet era philosophers like Nikolai Berdyaev.
Vagrich Bakhchanyan was an Armenian, Russian, Ukrainian and American painter, artist and writer-conceptualist (and/or conceptual poet and writer) in the Russian language.
He was born to an Armenian family in Kharkiv, Ukraine, where he grew up, studied and began painting. In the mid-1960s he moved to Moscow, where worked at Literaturnaya Gazeta. In 1974 Bakhchanyan emigrated to United States, and lived in New York, where he was active in the literary and art scene. There he collaborated with Russian and Soviet emigré writers Sergei Dovlatov, Alexander Genis, and Naum Sagalovsky, among others. He died on November 12, 2009 in New York City.