The Sunday Magazine

Svetlana comes to Canada

The University of Toronto is the new home for a treasure trove of letters between Stalin's daughter and her best friend, British art historian Mary Burkett. It's all thanks to author Rosemary Sullivan.
Svetlana, 8, with Stalin on vacation is Sochi. (Credit: Svetlana Alliluyeva Private Collection; Courtesy of Chrese Evans. )

"I will always be a political prisoner of my father's name." -  Svetlana Alliluyeva, daughter of the Russian dictator Joseph Stalin. 

These words, which appeared in a newspaper obituary, caught the attention of author Rosemary Sullivan, and inspired her to write a book about Svetlana's tragic life. Stalin's Daughter, The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva, would go on to win the 2015 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for non-fiction and is nominated for the 2016 RBC Taylor Prize for non-fiction. 

Last spring Michael spoke to Rosemary Sullivan about her biography of Svetlana Alliluyeva, and about the thousands of hours she spent in libraries and archives, doing interviews and combing through correspondence. Now, Ms. Sullivan has helped the University of Toronto's Thomas Fischer Rare Book Library to acquire some important letters; exchanges between Ms. Alliluyeva and her close friend, British art historian Mary Burkett.



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