Moscow, Russia


Photographer: Nataliya Kharlamova

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

For nearly two decades, Viktor Krotov, 70, has run a free creative-writing studio for children and adults with and without disabilities. In his classes, he helps people discover and explore their own creativity. His students play games using poetry, fiction, essays and aphorisms and see what emerges – a process Viktor calls “shaking by genres”. For most of his students, Viktor’s creative games are a therapy in their own right – ways of helping them understand and cope with everyday life. For a few, the games have led to a new vocation. Sonya Shatalova (right) has severe autism that prevents her from speaking or writing by herself. Through Viktor’s classes, she discovered a talent for writing poetry. A collection of her work, I Am Not Mute, was published in Moscow in 2015.