8 Best Georgian Authors: Experience The Rich History of This Region Through Its Most Acclaimed Stories

Discover our guide to the 8 Best Georgian authors and learn about this small nation’s unique and ancient literary heritage at the intersection of Europe and Asia. 

Early Georgian literature was primarily produced in Eastern Orthodox monasteries and was later influenced by Persian writers. The country lacked literary production during Mongolian rule but later experienced a renaissance during the 17th century. 18th-century Georgian writers established themselves as masters of poetry and, toward the end of the century, concerned themselves frequently with occupation and the search for a national identity. 

Georgia is known for its beautiful mountain villages and Black Sea beaches. Its capital city, Tbilisi, boasts a labyrinth of cobbled streets and intricately adorned traditional buildings, but it is also a city with surprisingly modern, sleek architecture. The country’s literature is similarly steeped in tradition but brimming with an edgy, rebellious, contemporary mindset. If you’re interested in this topic, you might also enjoy our round-up of the best 4th century authors!

Here Are The Best Georgian Authors

1. Mikheil Javakhishvili, 1880 – 1937

Mikheil Javakhishvili
Mikheil Javakhishvili via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Mikheil Javakhishvili was born to a family of Georgian farmers. As a young man, he was enrolled in Yalta College of Horticulture and Viticulture but left school when a group of robbers murdered his mother and sister. Back in Georgia, Javakshvili worked in copper smeltery and began publishing articles critical of the Russian authorities under a pen name. 

Javakhisvili’s early journalism was only the beginning of his provocative writing career, which soon included short stories, then novellas and novels. His political views were ever-present in his writing, which resulted in near-constant surveillance, several arrests, exiles, and eventually, his death by firing squad.

Kvachi, one of Javakhishvili’s most recognized novels, is typical of his writing. Its protagonist is a womanizer and a con man, yet readers cannot help but love and admire this unlikely hero. In celebrating such a man, Javakshivili calls into question society’s assumptions about what makes a person worthy. You might also be interested in these authors like Bernard Cornwell.

“I’m Kvachi Kvachantiradze, and I’m not fake Ashordia gentry, or a fake prince, or a fake lord in waiting, nor a pickpocket, pimp, or traitor.”

Mikheil Javakhishvili, Kvachi
Kvachi (Georgian Literature)
  • Javakhishvili, Mikheil (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 512 Pages - 02/17/2015 (Publication Date) - Dalkey Archive Press (Publisher)

2. Zaza Burchuladze, 1973 – date of death unknown

Zaza Burchuladze
Zaza Burchuladze via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Zaza Burchuladze now lives and works in Germany, but he was born and raised in Georgia’s capital city, Tbilisi. He began writing after graduating from Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, where he studied ornamental painting. Buchuladze’s work is provocative and often controversial. He frequently tackles religion, sexuality, violence, conformity, and societal structures.

Critics dismissed his work for years, but he has since won numerous literary awards and is considered one of the most influential Georgian authors of the modern era. Burchuladze’s novel Adibas is an absurdist satire of consumer culture in modern, urban Bohemia. While war rages around the characters, they are so enthralled by entertainment and acquiring wealth and status that they barely notice the bigger picture. 

“Show me your iPod and I’ll tell you who you are.”

Zaza Burchuladze, Adibas
  • Burchuladze, Zaza (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 113 Pages - 01/09/2014 (Publication Date) - Dalkey Archive Press (Publisher)

3. Otar Chiladze, 1933 – 2009

Otar Chiladze
Otar Chiladze via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Otar Childaze was born in the easternmost province of Georgia, in what was then part of the Russian Empire. He studied journalism at Tbilisi State University and began publishing poetry in the 1950s. He played a prominent role in “The Thaw,” a period of liberal change in the region’s literature which included criticism of recent events in history, hope for the future, and increased insistence on freedom of expression. 

Though initially known for his poetry, Childaze became most famous for his sweeping, atmospheric novels, in which the setting is deeply intertwined with the narrative. Childaze was nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature in 1998. He is not buried at the Mtatsminda Pantheon alongside many of Georgia’s most beloved writers, artists, and national heroes. 

Childaze’s 1973 novel, A Man Was Going Down the Road, is not an easy read but is an insightful exploration of Georgian culture. The book is rife with Greek mythology, most notably the tale of Jason and Medea, but many argue that it is a symbolic retelling of Georgia under Soviet control. 

“The word ‘love’ made Medea tremble so much that she found it hard to announce it even to herself. This little word, so harmless at first sight, comprised so much resistance and unhappiness, and implied such terrible visions, that Medea felt she was gasping for breath, drained of strength and dissolving in the air.”

Otar Childaze, A Man Was Going Down the Road

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4. Aka Morchiladze, 1966 –

Aka Morchiladze
Aka Morchiladze via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Arguably the most well-known name in contemporary Georgian literature, Aka Morchiladze, is the pen name of Giorgi Akhvlediani. Morchiladze was born in Tbilisi and studied history at Tbilisi State University. He was a wildly popular sports journalist and literary columnist in the 1990s before becoming a novelist and returning to his alma mater as a professor. 

Morchiladze has published 23 novels and several short story collections. Well-known as a brilliant and engaging storyteller, Morchiladze’s work is frequently adapted for film and stage and has been translated into numerous languages. Journey to Karabakh was Morchiladze’s first and most well-known novel. It has remained in print since its first release in 1992 and was the basis for two feature-length films. Journey to Karabakh is about a drug deal gone bad, the search for personal autonomy, and one young man’s desperate desire for an authentic experience. 

“I’ve never really had any kind of goal at all. I’ve never given anything enough thought, I don’t think, probably because whenever I started thinking seriously about something, other people have messed it all up for me.”

Aka Morchiladze, Journey to Karabakh
Journey to Karabakh (Georgian Literature)
  • Morchiladze, Aka (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 159 Pages - 01/09/2014 (Publication Date) - Dalkey Archive Press (Publisher)

5. Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani, 1658 – 1725

Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani
Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani grew up in the court of King Giorgi XI. As a young person, he spent many hours studying at the Great Palace Library and became a renowned diplomat, scientist, and writer. Often referred to as “The Father of Georgia,” he is lauded as the initiator of a great cultural and intellectual awakening during his lifetime. 

As an advisor to the king, Sulkhan-Saba Obeliani was dedicated to preserving and promoting Georgian history, language, and culture. He traveled extensively throughout Europe to promote his country’s interests. He painstakingly created the first dictionary of the Georgian language, which is still considered the definitive authority on the subject. As a young man in his early 20s, Orbeliani wrote a collection of fables, The Book of Wisdom and Lies, that has become a staple of Georgian literature. In it, he weaves allegorical animal tales that reveal human nature and offers lessons on how best to live. 

“The wound thou gavest me with the axe is healed, but my heart, wounded by thy wife’s tongue, is still sore.”

Sulkhan-Saba Obeliani, The Book of Wisdom and Lies
Book of Wisdom and Lies: Georgian Fables (Discover Georgia)
  • Orbeliani, Sulkhan Saba (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 154 Pages - 12/01/2018 (Publication Date) - 9789941961670 (Publisher)

6. David “Dato” Turashvili, 1966 –

David “Dato” Turashvili
David “Dato” Turashvili via Wikipedia, Public Domain

When Dato Turashvili was born in Tbilisi, Georgia had been under Soviet rule for decades, but by the time he was in his late teens and early 20s, the tide was turning. During his time at Tbilisi University, he became the leader of a student protest against the Russian military’s occupation of a Georgian monastery. This event inspired his first novels and made him one of Georgia’s most beloved authors. 

Turashvili has participated in several climbing expeditions in the Caucasus Mountains and published literary criticism and historiography research papers in leading academic journals. His work has been translated into seven languages, and his first novel, Flight from the USSR, remains Georgia’s best-selling book of all time. 

Flight From the USSR was originally titled “Jeans Generation,” an homage to the young people of the late 1980s for whom wearing jeans was an act of rebellion against Soviet rule. It is a fictionalized account of a real event in which a band of young people attempted to escape the Soviets by hijacking a plane. It is a tragic, gripping look at the courage of a generation determined to taste freedom. 

“The others looked at the open coffin again and only now discovered the deceased was wearing the jeans, unaffected after all those years. They still looked new, and there was a shining sun drawn above the right knee”

Dato Turashvili, Flight From the USSR
Flight from the USSR
  • Turashvili, Dato (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages - 12/01/2015 (Publication Date) - Mosaic Press (Publisher)

7. Ana Kordzaia-Samadashvili, 1968 –

Ana Kordzaia-Samadashvili
Ana Kordzaia-Samadashvili via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Ana Kordzaia-Samadashvili, who was born in Tbilisi, is not only one of Georgia’s most influential writers, but as a woman, she also shares a unique perspective on the country’s history and culture. She is also highly regarded as a translator and literary journalist. For her literary contributions, Samadashvili has earned the Goethe Institute Award and the Saba Literary Prize for Georgian fiction. Her writing is poignant, honest, humorous, and undeniably feminine. Her work has been translated into English, German, and Swedish. 

Samadashvili is best known for her collection of short stories, Me, Margarita. Each of these stories features a female protagonist, all flawed but strong and likable. The title story reveals the history of a beautiful gorge controlled by the Persians, Ottomans, and then the Russians. The gorge is also the site of generations of blunt, brave, no-nonsense women, all named Margarita. 

“In Tbilisi, only drunk men kiss each other…“

Ana Kordzaia-Samadashvili, Me, Margarita

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8. Tamata Melashvili, 1979 –

Tamata Melashvili
Tamata Melashvili via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Tamta Melashvili was born in Ambrolauri, a picturesque wine-producing city in the Northwestern region of Georgia. She began her studies at Tbilisi University, where she would later work as a researcher and lecturer. She earned her degree in Gender Studies at Central European University in Budapest. Melashvili’s short stories first appeared online, but she was soon included in anthologies and won critical acclaim. Her debut novel, Counting Out, has been translated into five languages and has won several literary awards. 

Counting Out is the story of two young teenage girls living in a war zone and trying to make ends meet by participating in a drug trafficking scheme. Melashvili does not name the story’s location or provide a date for the action. As a result, the reader is forced to contend with the idea that this tragic story could happen anywhere, anytime. Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best 19th century authors!

“Their dead are unworthy of the earth? Dead is dead, Tebro said. The dead do not have theirs and ours.”

Tamte Melashvili, Counting Out 


  • Stefani is a freelance writer who specializes in lifestyle and literary pieces. She worked for several years as a high school English teacher before becoming a full-time writer. Stefani is pursuing a graduate degree in English literature focusing on contemporary poetry. When not writing, you can find her in the garden, making plans for her next road trip, or in her workshop, where she restores vintage and antique furniture.