The Impossible History of Trotsky's Sister

Olga Kameneva, feminist and head of the Russian Theatre in post-revolutionary Russia, lived through the heady days of that time. As the wife of one of Stalin’s inner circle and sister of Leon Trotsky, she was on shaky ground when Stalin targeted both as political enemies, and she herself was soon consigned by Stalin to the ‘dustbin of history’.

In The Impossible History of Trotsky’s Sister, she is given another, imagined life in post-World War Two Australia, as a displaced person amidst the tea and lamingtons of the Melbourne suburbs. The Cold War and the ‘Red Scare’ mean Olga has to hide her identity and past, until history comes knocking on her door. A young woman who is desperate to escape Australian social mores, and an explosive, revolutionary play, press Olga and her ghosts into the struggle again. Olga draws on her revolutionary past, and a whole cast of Old Bolsheviks, Russian feminists, poets, playwrights and painters, to craft her own narrative. This time, is history on her side?

She is not just Trotsky’s sister. She is Olga Kameneva: Old Bolshevik, arts bureaucrat, women’s activist, émigré, tea drinker and suburban Cold War warrior.