Olga Grjasnowa was born into a Russian-Jewish family in Baku, Azerbaijan. Her family came to Germany in 1996 and Olga started learning German when she was 11 years old. In 2005, she first pursued a degree in art history and Slavic Studies at the University of Göttingen but then enrolled in the “Creative Writing” program offered by the German Institute for Literature in Leipzig and received her bachelor’s degree in 2010. After studying abroad in Poland, Russia, and Israel, Olga Grjasnowa took up dance studies at the Free University of Berlin. She is married to Syrian actor Ayham Majid Agha. Olga has a daughter Anna and a son Noah. She is 8 and he is 5.

In 2010, she was awarded the Dramatist Prize of the Wiener Wortstätten for her debut play, Mitfühlende Deutsche (Compassionate Germans). Her first novel, Der Russe ist einer, der Birken liebt, was awarded the Klaus-Michael Kuehne Prize and Anna Seghers Prize, both in 2012, and was published in English as All Russians Love Birch Trees (Other Press, 2013).

  • All Russians Love Birch Trees. Novel. Original published in 2012, translation published in 2014.
  • Die juristische Unschärfe einer Ehe. Novel. 2014.
  • Gott ist nicht schüchtern. Novel. 2017. Translation published in 2019 under the title City of Jasmine.
  • Der verlorene Sohn. Novel. 2020.
  • Die Macht der Mehrsprachigkeit. 2021.
  • Theater adaptation of “Der Russe ist einer, der Birken liebt” (Gorki Theater, Berlin, 2013) and “Gott ist nicht schüchtern” (Berliner Ensemble, Berlin, 2020)
  • Film adaptation by Pola Beck of “Der Russe ist einer, der Birken liebt” (November 2022)
Audio books
  • Der Russe ist einer, der Birken liebt. 2012.
  • Die juristische Unschärfe einer Ehe. 2014.
  • City of Jasmine. 2019.
Selected Awards
  • 2012: Anna Seghers-Preis
  • 2012: Klaus-Michael Kühne Prize
  • 2014: Residency at the Literaturhaus Lenzburg, Schweiz
  • 2015: Adelbert von Chamisso Prize
  • 2016: Residency at the Tarabya Cultural Academy, Istanbul
  • 2018: Writer in Residence at the University of Oxford and the University of Warwick
  • 2019: Stipend of the City of Berlin und the Robert Bosch Foundation