The well-known Soviet writer Vasily Aksyonov was born in Kazan, and wrote about his hometown. The Mayor’s Office of Kazan came up with the idea to celebrate his 75th jubilee in the city in 2007. The event, christened Aksyonov Fest, would feature jazz performances as well as poetry and prose readings. The debut festival was attended by the writer Mikhail Veller, poet Mikhail Gendelev, poet Bella Akhmadullina, saxophone player Aleksey Kozlov and rock singer Andrei Makarevich. Everyone loved the festival, and it was firmed up as annual. The Aksyonov Fest has featured young writers’ Star Ticket Awards (named after Aksyonov’s early novel Star Ticket) since 2008. The award is the sum of one hundred thousand rubles and a copper statuette in the form of a punched old-timey train ticket: “you can see the stars through the punch-holes in it.”
Nowadays the Aksyonov Fest includes master-classes and roundtable debates, as well as prose and poetry readings and jazz concerts. A new venue has been recently added to the fest, the Aksyonov Garden behind Mir Cinema.