Eastern Express: Book launches – “Sonia” and “Pokój do Smutku”


Book launches: ”Sonia” by Kateryna Babkina and “Pokój do smutku” by Andrij Lubka. 

Overview of the books, reading excerpts and a discussion with the authors. Moderators – Andrzej Niewiadomski, Mykola Riabczuk

Where: Próba Café – patio

Kateryna Babkina “Sonia”

The Polish translation of the novel Соня published in Ukraine in 2013 and nominated to the BBC Ukrainian Book of the Year award 2013.

The story of the young woman, Sonia, shows that readiness to motherhood does not always come with pregnancy. The protagonist finds herself in a crisis and goes on a journey to meet the father she’s never met, believing that it will help her find her own identity and establish a better bond with her child in the future. But journeys don’t always bring the sort of solutions we want. It is an unpredictable story, full of twists and turns and often magical descriptions possibly resulting from Sonia’s blessed state.

Kateryna Babkina (b.1985 in Ivano-Frankivsk) – is a well-known Ukrainian writer, journalist and screenwriter. She has published volumes of poetry (“St.Elmo’s Fires”, 2002), the novel “Sonia” (nominated for the Ukrainian BBC Book of the Year award 2013), a collection of short stories and books for children, including one dedicated to children with cancer. She also writes movie scripts (a short film based on Kateryna’s books was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016) and a play – “Hamlet Babylon” that was performed in Kiev and Geneva. Her books have been translated into English, Czech, French, Spanish, German, Swedish, Romanian and Russian; in June her works were translated into Hebrew for the first time. The collection “Happy Naked People”(published in Ukraine in 2016) was translated into Polish and published by Workshops of Culture in 2017. It was the author’s first book published in Poland.

Andrij Lubka “Pokój do smutku”

The Polish translation of the short story collection Кімната для печалі published in Ukraine in 2016 and nominated to the BBC Ukrainian Book of the Year Award 2016.

This collection of stories features an empty room as the protagonist. Each story is a stand-alone study of loneliness and sadness. Metaphorically speaking, empty room means melancholy that attacks a person in a hotel, abandoned house, orthodox church, orphanage but also on a sunny beach. The protagonists of Lyubka’s stories restore a romantic perception of the world – they live in their own imaginations and feelings in which they seek shelter from everyday reality.

Andrij Lubka (b.1987 in Riga) – one of the most interesting Ukrainian writers of the young generation, poet, prose writer, essayist, translator, columnist, social activist. Winner of the literary awards “Debut” (2007) and “Kyiv Lawry” (2011), a fellow of the Gaude Polonia Scholarship granted by the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Poland (2010, 2012). He has taken part in literary festivals all over the world – from Rio de Janeiro to Istanbul. His works have been translated into Polish, German, English, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Czech, Serbian, Macedonian, Lithuanian, Slovak and Turkish. In 2017, he was nominated for the Angelus Central European Literature Award for “Karbid”. The short story collection ”Pokój do smutku” brought him the Kowaliwów Award (USA) for Prose. One of the short stories in this collection has been made into a film.

Mykola Riabczuk (b. 1953 in Lutsk) – graduate of Lviv Polytechnic National University and M.Gorki Literature Institute in Moscow. He was the deputy editor-in-chief of the monthly magazine “Wseswit” and the vice editor of the magazine “Krytyka”. Several translations of his books were published in Poland, including: “Od Malorusije do Ukrajine” (2002), “Dwie Ukrainy” (2004, second edition:2006), “Ogród Metternicha” (2011), “Ukraina. Syndrom postkolonialny” (2015). A winner of Pocul Foundation Award, the award of the literary quarterly “Akcent”. He has also been granted the badge of honour “Bene Merito” by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland for working towards good Polish-Ukrainian relations. Currently, he is the chairman of the Ukrainian PEN Club and a juror of the Angelus Central European Literature Award. He is an associate of the Institute of Political and Ethno-national Studies at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, guest lectures at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv and at the Centre for East European Studies at the University of Warsaw.