Lasha Bugadze is a cartoonist, fiction writer, playwright and newspaper columnist, and a host of book programmes on Georgian TV and radio. Born in 1977, he lives and works in Tbilisi. His most recent novel, A Small Country (2017), won the Saba, IliaUni and Writers’ House Litera prizes – all for best novel of the year in 2018. The book is based on the real scandal surrounding the publication of his 2001 novella The First Russian. This story outraged some MPs and clergy with its satirical allusions to the wedding night of Georgia’s revered medieval Queen Tamar, whose first husband was a Russian prince. The author found himself censured in parliament and threatened with excommunication. An extract of A Small Country, translated by Maya Kiasashvili, will appear in Words Without Borders in February to coincide with the festival. His earlier novel Literature Express (2009) – published in Maya Kiasashvili’s English translation by Dalkey Archive in 2013 – cast a playful eye over Georgia’s yearnings to join the EU, and the predicament of writers from small countries with esoteric languages. Lasha won the International BBC Playwriting Competition in 2011 for The Navigator, and his play The President Has Come to See You was performed at London’s Royal Court Theatre in 2013. He appeared in the UK’s first festival of Georgian writers, Where Europe Meets Asia: Georgia25. The novelist Nino Haratischvili (opening the tavern on 25 February) has translated two of Lasha’s novels into German. You can read an extract from Lasha Bugadze’s novel A Small Country, translated by Maya Kiasashvili, on Words Without Borders.