Author(s): Sofka Zinovieff
In 1907, Princess Sophy ('Sofka') DolgorOuky was born in St Petersburg. Members of the Imperial family had attended her parents' wedding earlier that same year, and the child was born into a privileged world of nurses, private tutors and elegant tea parties. The Russian Revolution caused the princess to flee across Europe to England, but it was the Second World War that left the deepest marks on her adult life. During those years, she left her first husband and lost her second. Later, she was interned in a Nazi prison camp, where she discovered Communism and showed great bravery in defending the rights of the Jewish prisoners. It was her Communism which took her back to the Soviet Union as an improbable tour guide for British workers. And Communism, albeit indirectly, brought her the last love of her life, Jack, a working-class Londoner who had never been abroad. Sofka's colourful life also included a close friendship with Laurence Olivier, innumerable lovers, some serious, some quickly discarded, and an abiding love of reading and especially poetry.
"a piercing portrait of an extraordinary woman who was both a Russian princess and a communist." Telegraph "... a life of eccentricity and excess; of loss and exile; of courage, and of cruelty that reverberated down the generations. Red Princess is a small memorial to all the lives dislodged by the shifting sands of modern history." Guardian "...anyone reading about her sizzling charm, guts and literary gifts can't help thinking it would have been fun to know her." The Economist 'Sofka Zinovieff deserves a place on the shelves up there with Lawrence Durrell and Patrick Leigh Fermor, justly famous for their books on Greece' Vogue
Sofka Zinovieff was born in England and is of Russian extraction. She studied anthropology at Cambridge; then, after spells living in Russia and Italy, she settled with her family in Greece, an experience which she described in her first, highly acclaimed book, Eurydice Street (Granta, 2003), which has been translated into three languages.