I began my career as translator and editor of translations from Russian at Ardis Publishers, where I held the position of senior editor throughout the 1980s. I am best known for my translations of Anna Akhmatova's My Half-Century: Selected Prose (Ardis, 1992; 3rd edition 2013), for which I was awarded a Wheatland Foundation Translation Grant, with the recommendation of Joseph Brodsky, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Gambler & Other Stories (Penguin UK, 2010). Four stories from the Dostoyevsky collection have since been reissued in Penguin UK's Little Black Classics and Pocket Classics (2015-16).
Chekhov represents another major figure in my work as translator and scholar. I translated three stories for the Norton Critical Edition of Chekhov's Selected Stories (2014), one of which, "The Death of a Government Clerk," was broadcast on Symphony Space's "Selected Shorts" (January 2018). I was commissioned by the Atlantic Theatre Company (New York) to translate Chekhov's "Cherry Orchard," which was adapted for the stage by playwright Tom Donaghy (2005). My translation of Chekhov's "Kashtanka," commissioned by the great Drenka Willen, was adapted for a children's edition with illustrations by Gennady Spirin (Harcourt Brace, 1995).I have also authored two scholarly articles on Chekhov in English translation.
In October 2015, I published a short piece about Russian poet Inna Lisnyanskaya for PEN's Banned Book Week. See "Cold War Dress Code: Remembering Inna Lisnyanskaya."
I am Director of the MA Program in Russian Literary Translation at Columbia University, where I have taught since 1995.I am a member of PEN America's Translation Committee, and served on the jury for the 2016 PEN Translation Prize. I was awarded a fellowship from the Likhachev Foundation (St. Petersburg) in 2011. I hold a Ph.D. in Russian Literature, with a minor in Polish literature, from Indiana University.
For the past several years I have been working more in Polish literature. I am the editor of Anna Frajlich's The Ghost of Shakespeare: Collected Essays (2020) and guest editor of a special issue of The Polish Review, dedicated to Frajlich's work (March 2022). I am currently translating Frajlich's The Laboratory, her collection of short prose. I am a member of the advisory board of the Polish literary journal Tematy i Konteksty (University of Rzeszów) and Polish Biographical Studies (University of Szczecin).