Born 8th January 1946 in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg). Graduated from the Faculty of Philology at the Leningrad State University in 1970. A member of the Saint Petersburg Union of Writers since 1982. Currently a Board member of the Saint Petersburg Union of Writers, Head of the Literary Translation Section of the Union of Writers, and a member of the Russian PEN Club, he runs a literary translation workshop at the French Institute (Institut Français) in Saint Petersburg. Lives in Saint Petersburg.
In 2002, he received an Honorary Diploma from the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) for translating into Russian Pierre Griparis' book Les Contes de la rue Broca (Tales of the Rue Broca).
In 2003 he received the Maurice Vaksmakher Literary Award established jointly by the French Government and the Embassy of France in Moscow to recognize the best translations of French literature, for his 2002 translations of Guillaume Apollinaire’s L'Enchanteur pourissant (The Rotting Magician) and Le Poete assassiné (The Poet Assassinated).
In 2005 he received the Samuil Marshak Award for Best Children’s Poetry (The Holiday of an ABC-Book, 2004).
In 2006 two of his books, The Condemned Poets and French Poetry for Children received honorary diplomas at the Nevsky Book Fair [Nevsky Knizhny Forum] in Saint Petersburg. The Condemned Poets (2005) was awarded the Book of the Year Prize at the Federal Agency of Press and Mass Communications Competition at the 19th Moscow International Book Fair (MIBF).
In 2007 Children’s Time (2007), a book of children’s poetry, won the Book of the Year Prize in the “We Grow Up Together with the Book” category. It also came first in the Poetry section at the “The Scarlet Sails” children's writers competition.
In 2008 he received the Enlightener Prize awarded by the Inostrannaya Literatura [Foreign Literature] magazine for outstanding achievements in the fields of translation and the study of foreign literature. The prize was awarded for the bilingual edition of The Condemned Poets.
- The same year the Zvezda [The Star] magazine awarded Mikhail Yasnov their special prize for the best poetry publication in 2007.
- The "Masters of Literary Translation" Guild recognized his translations of works by G. Apollinaire and P. Picasso, as well as his translation of a two-volume edition of French lyrical poetry by offering him a "Master" Award.
In 2009 he won the Korney Chukovsky Literary Award for outstanding creative achievements in Russian children's poetry.
2011 - awarded the A.P. Chekhov Literary Prize "For Contribution to Russian Literature" (the Russian "Golden Pen" Award).
2012 - awarded the Russian Federation Government Prize in Culture for Children's Time, his book for preschool and primary school children.
2014 - awarded the International Reading Association "Reflections on the Little Prince" Prize for his work in introducing children to reading.
- Awarded the Diploma for the best publication in 2014 in the "Educator" category by the "School Library" magazine (the Lessons on Children's Poetry series of articles, No. 3-5 / 2014).
- As part of the celebration of the decade of the Samuil Marshak Award, he was recognized as the "Author of the Decade" for his work in promoting foreign children's literature and for translating the best books by Western writers into Russian.
2015 - finalist of the Enlightener Prize in the Humanities Section for his A Journey to Wonderhood. A Book About Children, Children's Poetry, and Children's Poets.
2016 - Order of the Golden Eagle "For the High Creative Achievements" awarded jointly by the European Union of Writers and the International Award Union.
- A Commemorative medal of the Organizing Committee of the Year of Literature recognizing his extensive contribution to book publication industry.
2017 - A Letter of Commendation from the Governor of Saint Petersburg for the Complete Collection of Poems for Children.
He is the author of 9 books of poetry:
In the Rhythm of Surf. Leningrad , 1986.
Irregular Verbs. Moscow , 1990.
Underground Cross-walk. Saint Petersburg , 1995.
The Alphabet of Separation. Saint Petersburg , 1995.
Theater of Shadows. Saint Petersburg, 1999.
Immured Amour. Saint Petersburg , 2003.
Ambidexter. Saint Petersburg, 2010;
Partly. Saint Petersburg, 2013;
Once and For All // Selected poems 1965-2015. Moscow, 2016
Mikhail Yasnov started writing children's poetry at the end of the 1970s, and has published approximately 100 books of children's poetry and prose since. He has also compiled a series of anthologies and collections the 20th century children's writers. In 2014 he published a collection of essays and articles on children's poetry titled A Journey to Wonderhood. A Book About Children, Children's Poetry, and Children's Poets.
Mikhail Yasnov does literary translation - mainly of French poetry and prose, - and is also invested in the study and research of the history of French poetry and prose. In 2011, the Knigovek Publishing House printed a volume of his Select Translations which included translations of French and Francophone Poetry. In 2016 the Rudomino Book House published a volume of Fragments and Experiments. Excerpts from French poetry. Translations. Commentary. Notes. In 2017, his study On French Poets and Russian Translators was released by the same publishing house.
In addition, more than a hundred books of children's poetry and prose translations have been published.
His work in compiling anthologies and preparing editorial series should be separately recognized. In 2005 he was made the head of the “Foreign Poet's Library" series with the Nauka [Science] Publishing House, and in 2011 he led the "Masters of Literary Translation. The Saint Petersburg School" series with the Petropolis Publishing House. The Klever [Clover] Publishing House launched the "Mikhail Yasnov's Library" series in 2016 to introduce its youngest readers to contemporary children's literature.
Original poetry by Mikhail Yasnov has been translated into English, French, German, Polish, Estonian, Latvian, and Romanian. He has also contributed to the work of several French, Belgian, and British Literary Translation Centres as a resident translator and poet. In March 2008 he represented Saint Petersburg at the Leipzig International Book Fair.
A large number of records, tapes, and CDs with poems and songs for children has been recorded and released over the years. In 2007 he launched his own series of audiobooks.
An important part of Mikhail Yasnov's activities focuses on his work with gifted children. In 1995 – 1997, in collaboration with the International House of Poetry in Brussels, he organized the Happy Duck Competition for young poets in Saint Petersburg. In 1996 – 1998 he developed the Children Translate Children project as part of a cultural exchange programme between Saint Petersburg and Western Michigan (USA). He is currently working on the “ABC Poetry” series, translating poems by European children's poets, and preparing them for publication. He has broadcast a children's radio show on the Saint Petersburg radio since 1992, and he has led the Literary division of the "Kindergarten all Around" newspaper since 2001. He has presented and helped lead the creative workshop organized at the annual Young Writers at Detgiz [Publishing House] Festival since 2009. He also teaches at the young writers' workshop organized by the Detskoye Vremya [Children's Time] Publishing House, and is a permanent member of the jury at the "Living Classics", "Children Read Poetry", and the "Glagolitsa" youth competitions. Meeting children, teachers, and parents, as well as organizing poetry workshops and reviewing children's literature on specialized websites also makes up a significant part of his work.