This episode features Ukrainian- American poet and translator Boris Dralyuk – and on the second half of the show – Ukrainian author Andrei Kurkov.
Boris Dralyuk is an award- winning translator and the Editor-in-Chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He taught Russian literature for a number of years at UCLA and at the University of St Andrews. He is a co-editor (with Robert Chandler and Irina Mashinski) of the Penguin Book of Russian Poetry, and has translated Isaac Babel’s Red Cavalry and Odessa Stories, as well as Andrei Kurkov’s The Bickford Fuse and Grey Bees. In 2020 he received the inaugural Kukula Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Book Reviewing from the Washington Monthly.
Boris Dralyuk joins us from Los Angeles to talk about his debut poetry collection My Hollywood and other Poems (Paul Dry Books, 2022) and about his translation of Andrei Kurkov’s Grey Bees, a novel set in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, against the backdrop of a long-simmering conflict between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces.
Andrei Kurkov is a writer, journalist, and screenwriter. He is the first writer in post-Soviet countries, whose books have reached the top ten European bestsellers. Over 150 thousand copies of his most popular novel Death and the Penguin were sold in Ukraine. Kurkov’s books are translated into 37 languages. Kurkov is the president of PEN Ukraine. Andrei Kurkov is joining us from West Ukraine where he has found refugee away from his home in Kiev after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine at the end of February. Grey Bees, is his latest novel translated into English by Boris Dralyuk published in the US with Deep Vellum and in the UK by Maclehose Press.
On leaving and returning: a FLAWA Festival conversation between two debut novelists and a literary activist who has been promoting diversity in the UK for over 20 years and is now working on her first novel. Join Nathalie Teitler, Cristina Bendek and Karina Lickorish Quinn talking to Silvia Rothlisberger about their fiction writing on leaving and returning.
Cristina Bendek is a Caribbean author, born on the island of San Andrés (Colombia) in October 1987. In 2018 her first novel, Salt Crystals, won the Elisa Mújica National Novel Prize (Colombia). The novel has been translated into Portuguese (Moinhos, 2021), and Danish (Aurora Boreal, 2020), and now appears in English translation for the first time with Charco Press, which will also launch the novel in Spanish for the North American readership. Some of her work has also been translated into German. Cristina is also a journalist but spends her time researching Caribbean literature and writing fiction. She lives in Berlin.
Dr Nathalie Teitler was born in Buenos Aires and did a PhD in Argentine poets. She has worked promoting inclusivity in British arts, especially literature for 25 years. She is the Director of the Complete Works- an initiative that had a significant impact on the landscape of British poetry. She is also the founding Director, along with poet Leo Boix, of Nuevo Sol, an organisation developing British Latinx writers and building links with Latinx & Latin American writers around the world. She is working on her first novel, exploring gender, colonialism & race that is set in the tango scene of Buenos Aires in 1900.
Karina Lickorish Quinn is a Peruvian-British writer and a lecturer at the University of Leeds. Her short prose has been published widely including in Wasafiri, The Offing, Palabritas, and the Journal of Latina Critical Feminism. She was featured in Un Nuevo Sol, the first major anthology of British-Latinx writers. Her debut novel The Dust Never Settles (Oneworld, 2021) examines the legacy of colonialism in Peru. It will be published in Spanish as El Polvo Nunca se Asienta by Editorial Arde in May 2022. Karina is working on her second novel and a short story collection. She is represented by Seren Adams at United Agents.
Claudia Durastanti is based in Rome, she has written four novels in Italian. She is co-founder of the Italian Literature Festival in London and is on the board of the Turin Book Fair. She is the Italian translator of Joshua Cohen, Donna Haraway, Ocean Vuong, and the most recent edition of The Great Gatsby. Two of Claudia’s novels have been translated into English: Cleopatra Goes to Prison, translated by Christine Donougher, and Strangers I Know translated by Elizabeth Harris.
Strangers I Know is Claudia’s fourth novel and the second one translated into English. A finalist for the Premio Strega in 2019, Strangers I Know has been translated into twenty-one languages. It is a first-person account of an unconventional family. Where Both parents are deaf and have no sign language in common – which allows communications to be rife with misinterpretations. The narrator comes of age in this strange, and increasingly estranged, household split between a small village in southern Italy and New York City. Strangers I Know is a profound portrait of an unconventional family that makes us look anew at how language shapes our understanding of ourselves.
Strangers I know is a novel, based on Claudia’s own family history. It is part autobiography, part mythology, part essay.
Ondjaki was born in Luanda, Angola, in 1977. He has written poetry, children’s books, short stories, novels, playwrights and film scripts. He has won major literary awards and his books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
With a writing career spanning for two decades Ondjaki is the most prominent African writer of Portuguese from generations born after Portugal’s former colonies achieved independence in 1975.
Ondjaki’s latest book published in the UK is the award-winning Transparent City (translated by Stephen Henighan Europa editions UK 2021). Transparent City is a book set in Luanda, through the life of the many people who inhabit a residential building Ondjaki depicts different perspectives of modern, capitalist, post-war Luanda.
Ondjaki recently opened the bookshop Kiela Livraria in Luanda, started a publishing house, wrote and directed the film The Kitchen.
Sophie Hughes has translated such Latin American writers as Alia Trabucco Zerán, Laia Jufresa, Brenda Navarro, Guadalupe Nettel, and Fernanda Melchor. She is the recipient of grants from PEN/Heim in the US, and the Arts Council and Arts Foundation in the UK. Her recent translation of Fernanda Melchor’s Hurricane Season was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, the Dublin Literary Award, and longlisted for the National Book Award in Translation and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.
Sophie has also worked with the Stephen Spender Trust promoting translation in schools and is the co-editor of the anthology Europa28: Writing by Women on the Future of Europe.
Tiago Miller (London, 1987) is a writer and translator based in Lleida. He has worked on translations of a number of Catalan writers such as Pere Calders, Raül Garrigasait, Monserrat Roig and his articles on language, politics and literature have appeared in Núvol and La República. He is currently working on the first translation into English of Wild Horses by Jordi Cussà.
Eric M. B. Becker is a writer, literary translator, and editor of Words without Borders. He has also published translations of numerous writers from Brazil, Portugal, and Lusophone Africa, including, MIA COUTO, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Djaimila Pereira de Almeida, Alice Sant’Anna, Fernanda Torres, and Lygia Fagundes Telles (NEA Fellowship 2019), among others. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, The Literary Hub, Freeman’s, and Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, among other publications. He has served on the juries of the ALTA National Translation Award and the PEN Translation Prize, and he is a member of the board of artist brand management consultancy CargoCulture.
Jennifer Croft is a translator, author and literary critic who works from Polish and Argentine Spanish. She was awarded the 2018 Man Booker International Prize for her translation of Flights written by Olga Tokarczuk. Croft’s recent translations are a Perfect Cemetery by Federico Falco (Charco Press), and The Woman from Uruguay by Pedro Mairal She is the author of the memoir Homesick, the novel in Spanish Serpientes y EScaleras ; the forthcoming novels Amadou, Fidelity and a book-length essay about Postcards.
Jessica Sequeira is the author of A Furious Oyster (Dostoyevsky Wannabe), the collection of stories Rhombus and Oval (What Books), the collection of essays Other Paradises: Poetic Approaches to Thinking in a Technological Age (Zero), and her most recent book A Luminous History of the Palm (Sublunary Editions). Jessica has translated poetry and prose by Latin American authors, both contemporaries as well as figures such as Winétt de Rokha, Sara Gallardo, and Teresa Wilms Montt. Most recently she translated a biography of the Chilean artist Delia del Carril Iraeta. Jessica is associate editor of Sublunary editions and is currently doing a PhD at the Centre of Latin American Studies, in Cambridge, on literary exchanges between Latin America and India.