Forsh, Olga Dmitrieva.. Born on 28 May 1873 in the Gunib fortress in Dagestan into the family of General D. Komarov, adminstrator of the Middle Dagestan district. Her mother died early on, and her father married her governess. Upon the death of the general, however, her stepmother deposited Olga in a Moscow orphanage.
Forsh studied painting and drawing in Kiev and Odessa and under the direction of P. Chestyakov at the Academy of Arts. Her first publication was the story There Was A General, which appeared in the magazine Russkaya Mysl in 1908. This was followed, in the same year, by The Bear Panfamil, After The Firebird, and Pioneer.
Prior to the October Revolution, Forsh worked in Tsarskoye Selo as a drawing instructor. Soon after the Revolution, she moved to Moscow and worked in the School Reform office. The experiences of this time formed the basis for her later book Moscow Stories.
She eventually moved to Petrograd and, in 1923, began writing historical fiction. Her first work, Dressed in Stone (1925), is a tale of a 19th-century revolutionary who became a "secret prisoner", locked by the tsar in solitary confinement for 20 years. Contemporaries (1926), follows the fates of Gogol and the painter A.A. Ivanov. In the 1930s, she completed her Radishchev trilogy: Jacobin Ferment (1932), A Landed Lady of Kazan (1934), and Fateful Book (1939). The era of Paul I and the architects V. Bazhenov and A. Voronikhin are portrayed in Mikhalovsky Castle (1946). Her last major novel is Firstborn of Freedom (1953), a treatment of the Decembrist uprising.
She also wrote several volumes of fictionalized reminiscences: Hot Shop (1926) concerns the revolutionary workers and soldiers of 1905-1907; Mad Ship (aka "Ship of Fools") (1931) describes life in Petrograd's House of Arts in the 1920s; and The Raven (1933) deals with the Petersburg intelligentsia of an earlier time.
Forsh also wrote many satirical short stories, novellas, plays, filmscripts, and children's stories.
She died in 1961.
Photo: Gorod Pushkina.