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    FAMOUS NOVELIST'S BIRTH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATED IN HIS NATIVE SIBERIA

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    KRASNOYARSK, May 1 (RIA Novosti) - Events to celebrate the 80th birth anniversary of the Russian novelist Viktor Astafyev have taken place in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, near the place where he was born.

    Over a thousand people gathered for a Saturday soiree to commemorate the writer. "Although Astafyev did not like idle talk, we must say a huge 'thank-you' to this man today," Leonid Drachevsky, presidential envoy to the Siberian Federal District, said as he addressed the gathering.

    In his works, Astafyev "told the appalling truth, which would shock many. But he meant what he said. He called on us not to live in filth. We must take heed and be always mindful of that," Drachevsky pointed out.

    All of Astafyev's family members, including his widow, Maria, attended the soiree, held at the city's main concert hall. The event was rounded off with a ballet show based on his novel "King Fish." Astafyev was born on May 1, 1924, in the village of Ovsyanka, near Krasnoyarsk. And he found his final resting place here in fall of 2002.

    Provincial life and WWII are the two dominant themes in Astafyev's literary legacy, which includes novels such as "King Fish," "The Last Bow," "Damned and Killed," "Shepherd and Shepherdess," "A Sad Detective Story," and "Ode to the Russian Veggie Garden."

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