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Wschodni Express: literary panels at East of Culture – Different Sounds 2021

This year’s edition of East of Culture – Different Sounds takes place in Lublin between 24-17 June. It’s the 14th edition of Different Sounds, and the 8th edition held under the banner of East of Culture – a joint project of the National Centre for Culture and local governments of Lublin, Białystok, and Rzeszów.

The festival will launch the latest books in the Wschodni Express series. Join us for a series of panels and debates with writers, artists and intellectuals from Central and Eastern European countries.

One of the major obstacles in developing intercultural cooperation and overcoming stereotypes about the cultures of Central and Eastern European countries is the language barrier. While it isn’t a substantial threat to other fields of cultural practice (music, visual arts), it affects the reception of literature and broadly defined exchange of ideas. In this context, it is therefore vital to ensure a good flow of the current thought, writing and literature translated into national languages. Such a function is fulfilled by the series “Wschodni Express” established at Workshops of Culture. For the last several years, it has been introducing to Poland the most current prose and poetry from the Eastern Partnership countries.

The name of the series Wschodni Express (lit. Eastern Express) refers to the famous Paris-Constantinople train that in its heyday crossed nearly entire Europe and to such literary projects as Literature Express Europe 2000 and the Ukrainian periodical Potysah 76 – “Pociąg 76″ (Train 76) dedicated to the Central-East European culture. As its name suggests, the series aims at introducing Polish readers to the latest literary texts from Poland’s eastern neighbours, addressing the issues most relevant to the societies of Central and Eastern Europe. This mission stems from Lublin’s location near the east border of the European Union. It is a logical continuation of the long-established activity of Lublin’s literary and publishing communities in familiarising Polish readers with the culture of its eastern neighbours; Wydawnictwo Literackie, the quarterly “Akcent”, the quarterly “Kresy”, “Kultura Enter” magazine.

Thursday, 24 June

12.00-22.00 Festival Bookstore | A cafe and bookshop feat. Eastern European publications and books thematically linked with the festival (Między Słowami bookshop, Rybna 4/5)

A bookshop, book club, and reading room featuring publications from Eastern Partnership countries, Russia and Poland focusing on culture, music and contemporary art. An important part of publications on offer are books published for East of Culture – Different Sounds as part of the Wschodni Express series. Selected publications are available for purchase and/or reading on site.


 

Friday, 25 June

11.00–12.00  Wschodni Express | book launch: Wasyl Slapczuk „Ten sam kurz drogi”, translated from Ukrainian by Wojciech Pestka. Panellists: Wasyl Słapczuk – author, Wojciech Pestka –translator, Mariana Maksimowa (alias Eva Rayska) – moderator (Próba Cafe, Grodzka 5a – patio)

The book takes a deep look inside human existence and attempts to bring order to the world, redefine the meaning of what is good and evil, then establish the line beyond where a person starts losing their humanity and becomes an aggressive, dangerous beast. The protagonist, a writer and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, goes through a midlife crisis, which prompts him to go to a sanatorium where new acquaintances and experiences force him to reflect on himself.

Wasyl Słapczuk | Ukraine b. 1961 in Novyi Zboryshiv in Volhynia) – poet, prose writer, literary critic, literary scholar, translator. He served in Afghanistan, where he was gravely wounded. He has penned several novels, collections of poems and short stories, two of which have been published in Polish: “Woman from Snow” (2012) and “Knyha zabutti︠a︡” (The Book of  Oblivion, 2014) which was shortlisted for “Angelus” Central European Literature Award. He has authored collections of literary criticism, essays and books for children, and has translated Polish poetry by Krzysztof Sawicki and Wojciech Pestka. Furthermore, he has won over twenty literary awards, including Shevchenko National Prize and Józef Łobodowski Literary Award. Słapczuk has received the decoration of honour “Meritorious for Polish Culture”.

12.00-22.00   12.00-22.00 Festival Bookstore | A cafe and bookshop feat. Eastern European publications and books thematically linked with the festival (Między Słowami bookshop, Rybna 4/5)

Wschodni Express | Book launch: Juris Kronbergs “Wilk Jedno Oko” (translated from Latvian by Olga Wiewióra). Panellists: Olga Wiewióra – translator, prof. Krzysztof Zajas –author of the afterword,  Ewa Hadrian – moderator (Próba Cafe, Grodzka 5a – patio)

“The One-Eyed Wolf will not lose his race with death. Not yet. But his situation is looking rather grim, if not entirely dark. The theme of light losing to darkness is also repeated. One eye reflects an individual perspective that can be important or not, accurate or disfigured, divine or primitive – but it’s mine.”

prof. Krzysztof Zajas (from the introduction)

Juris Kronbergs | Latvia (9 August 1946 – 6 July 2020)  – a Latvian poet and translator who spent his life in Sweden. He studied Scandinavian and Baltic languages as well as the history of literature at the University of Stockholm. He debuted in the middle of 1960. His works veered between two cultures – Swedish and Latvian. His translations of 20th and 21st-century literature include selected poems by the  Nobel Prize winner Thomas Tranströmer and Ulf Eriksson’s novel Creatures of Glass / Varelser av glas (Janis Roze, 2010). Kronberg’s work has become one of the best examples of rebellion in Latvian literature of the 1960s. He was a chairman of the Latvian PEN Club, worked as an interpreter for the Swedish parliament and served as a cultural attaché at the Latvian embassy in Stockholm. He died on 6 July 2020.


Saturday, 26 June

11.00–12.00     Wschodni Express | Book launch: Zoltán Mihály Nagy “Szatański Pomiot”
(translated from Hungarian by Daniel Warmuz). Panellists: Zoltán Mihály Nagy – author, Daniel Warmuz – translator, Jan Burnatowski – moderator (Próba Cafe, Grodzka 5a – patio)

A story about a young Hungarian girl from Transcarpathia whose life was overshadowed by the turbulent history of the region marked by the entrance of the Russians towards the end of WW2 and deportations of the Hungarian population to the USSR and their forced labour. Shamed by Soviet soldiers and scorned by rural communities, Eszter, in spite of all fears,  decides to give birth to her illegitimate child and fight for the love of her life

Zoltán MihályNagy | Hungary (b. 1949) –  poet, prose writer, editor and one of the more important representatives of Hungarian literature in Transcarpathian Ukraine. He received The Attila József Prize (2005) and The Sandor Marai Prize (2021). He debuted with the volume of poetry “Dolgok igézetében (1983). He gained recognition in Hungary with his  “A sátán fattya” (1991), continued with Tölgyek alkonya (1996) and A teremtés legnehezebb napja (2004). He lives in Popovo / Csonkapapi on the Ukrainian / Hungarian border.

12.00-22.00 Festival Bookstore | A cafe and bookshop feat. Eastern European publications and books thematically linked with the festival (Między Słowami bookshop, Rybna 4/5)

13.00–14.00    Wschodni Express | book launch: Marius Burokas “Tu mieszkał Jonasz” ) translated from Lithuanian by: Agnieszka Rembiałkowska). Panellists: Marius Burokas – author, Agnieszka Rembiałkowska – translator, Rafał Rutkowski – moderator (Próba Cafe, Grodzka 5a – patio)

The volume contains poems from all four volumes of Marius Burokas’ poetry ( “Ideogramos”, “Būsenos”, “Išmokau nebūti”, “Švaraus buvimo”) and new poems, thus far only published in literary magazines. The selection showcases the evolution of the poet’s style and presents themes he uses in his work. The book offers two perspectives: it includes poems that the translator considers interesting for the Polish reader in terms of the topics and artistry and poems that the author himself considers worthwhile. It’s Burokas’ first publication in Polish.

Marius Burokas | Lithuania (b..1977 in Vilnius) – a poet, writer, translator and editor-in-chief of the online magazine of Lithuanian literature “Vilnius review”. He’s the author of four poetry volumes ( the most recent „Švaraus buvimo” was published in 2018 and awarded at Wiosna Poezji (Spring of Poetry) Poetry Festival. His volume of poetry in English, “Now I Understand” was published nu Parthian Books in 2018. In the same year, he also published a volume of poetry in Ukrainian, “Найменшіречі”, Buroas’ poetry has been translated into Polish, Russian, Slovenian, English, German, French, Dutch, Ukrainian. Marius Burokas translate American, Canadian and Australian poets, among others. He’s been a member of the Lithuanian Association of Literary Translators.

16.00–17.00     Wschodni Express | book launch: Kateryna Babkina “Nikt tak nie tańczył, jak mój dziadek” (translated from Ukrainian by Bohdan Zadura). Panellists: Kateryna Babkina – author, Bohdan Zadura – translator, Wojciech Szot – moderator (Próba Cafe, Grodzka 5a – patio)

A series of stories about five families whose children meet at school on 1 September in the first year of Ukraine’s independence and remain friends for life.

“Then, a tall girl blinked resolutely and released the hand of her classmate who had managed to forget his anxieties, such was the extent of everything which was new and inconceivable, and she moved her thin fingers along Lilitchka’s collar. From the collar, she unfastened a plastic mouse, a shiny grey brooch with touches of pink, and held it on her open palm for the weeping boy to take. ‚This is for you’, she said. “A gift. Please, stop crying. Stop right now’.  Then it seemed he stopped. Maybe not right away, but he definitely did.”

Kateryna Babkina | Ukraine (b.1985 in Ivano-Frankivsk) – a well-known Ukrainian writer, journalist, screenwriter and culture manager. She has published several volumes of poetry, debuting with St.Elmo’s fires (2002), the novel “Sonia” (nominated for the Ukrainian BBC’s Book of the Year 2013), a collection of short stories and books for children. She also writes film scripts and has written the play – “Hamlet Babylon” which was performed in Kiev, Geneva and Vienna. Her work has been translated into English, Czech, French, Spanish, German, Swedish, Romanian, Russian and Hebrew. Workshops of Culture have published her short stories, “Szczęśliwi Nadzy Ludzie  / “Happy Naked People” (2018) and the novel “Sonia”.


Sunday, 27 June

11.00–12.00   Wschodni Express | book launch: Andrij Lubka, “Twoje spojrzenie, Cio-cio-san”  (translated from Ukrainian: Bohdan Zadura). Panellists: Andrij Lubka –author, Bohdan Zadura – translator, Mariana Kril – moderator (Próba Cafe, Grodzka 5a – patio)

One December evening, a drunken judge in his black BMW fatally runs over the protagonist’s wife on a street in Uzhgorod. After the hit-and-run perpetrator is acquitted, Mark Zadrożny decides to serve justice and take matters into his own hands. Andrij Lubka’s new novel begins as a social thriller, disclosing the corruption of the contemporary Ukrainian country. But as the story develops in several time frames, the original perspective changes dramatically.

“My Raulka was killed by a judge and this country, which permits such a thing to happen. The country where everything is possible. Where those who proclaim law, sow lawlessness. Let them hear and see me. I have paid for this message with my life.”

Andrij Lubka | Ukraine (b. 1987 in Riga) – is one of the most interesting Ukrainian young writers of the current generation; a poet, prose writer, essayist, translator, and columnist. The winner of many literary awards, among them “Debut” (2007) and “Kyiv Laurels” (2011), a recipient of the Gaude Polonia scholarship granted by the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Poland (2010, 2012) who has taken part in many literary festivals around the world from Rio de Janeiro do Istanbul. Lubka’s work has been translated into Polish, English, German, Serbian, Portuguese, Russian, Belarusian and Czech. In 2017, his novel “Carbide” was nominated for Angelus Central European Literature Award, while his collection of stories “Pokój do smutku” received the Kovalev Foundation (USA) award for prose. One of the stories in this volume was turned into a film.

12.00-22.00 Festival Bookstore | A cafe and bookshop feat. Eastern European publications and books thematically linked with the festival (Między Słowami bookshop, Rybna 4/5)

 13.00–14.00    Wschodni Express | book launch: Uładzimier Arłou “Porucznik Piatrowicz i chorąży Duch” (translated from Belarusian by Bohdan Zadura). Panellists: Uładzimier Arłoŭ – author, Bohdan Zadura – translator, Justyna Czechowska – moderator (Próba Cafe, Grodzka 5a – patio)

The uniqueness of this book lies in both its diversity and uniformity. The ballads that cover centuries and include a compilation of contemporary and historical figures, from the executioners in the author’s hometown of Polotsk, through to renaissance artists from Padua, Don Juan and other contemporary Ukrainian poets who share the common interest of the author himself – a poet and historian, traveller and archaeologist of his own life. The reportage-like verism combines with oneirism, lyricism with irony and sarcasm, while a sense of humour is often broken by tragedy. Reading the book takes us on a fantastic and fascinating journey around history and the contemporary world.

Uładzimier Arłou | Belarus (b.1952 in Polotsk) – one of the most popular Belarusian poets; a historian and prose writers. After graduating from the Belarusian State University in Minsk with a diploma in history, he worked as a teacher and journalist. From 1988, he worked with the publisher “Mastackaja literatura” and joined the Belarusian Popular Front. In 1996, he was fired from his job with the publisher for “publishing historical literature of dubious quality, among others”, supported Democratic candidates in presidential elections, and in 2007 his works were removed from the school curriculum. He has been active in the Belarusian PEN Club and the independent Union of Belarusian Writers. He has published over 20 volumes of prose and several books of poetry. In 2018, he received the Jerzy Giedroyć Award. His books have been translated into many languages. Two selections of his short stories and a volume of poetry have been published in Polish.

16.00–17.00 Wschodni Express | The 50th death anniversary of Jacob Glatstein. Presentation of the new book series “Zaktowiczone” Panellists: Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska, Bella Szwarcman-Czarnota, Bogusław Wróblewski, Aleksandra Zińczuk – moderator (Próba Cafe, Grodzka 5a – patio)

A discussion on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Jacob Glatstein, a Polish-Jewish- American poet and writer born in Lublin. The discussion

The meeting is the prelude to the publication of the first Polish selection of Glatstein’s Yiddish poetry, scheduled for this fall (the book will launch on 19 November, the anniversary of the writer’s death).

Jacob (Yankev) Glatstein (1896-1971) – a Jewish poet, writer, and literary critic who wrote in the Yiddish language. He was born in Lublin. In 1914, he immigrated to the USA, where he co-edited the first anthology of poetry addressing the Holocaust. His introspective modernist poetry, subsequently engaged in the complex act of recording the Holocaust and mourning the destruction of the world of Eastern European Jews, is very challenging to translate due to his experiments with language.

The upcoming collection will include poems from various periods and volumes, such as „Gedenklider”, „Shṭralndiḳe Yidn”, „Dem tatns shotn”, and „A Yid fun Lublin” (A Jew from Lublin), for which he received the Kovner Award in 1967. He was posthumously given The Jewish Heritage Award for his literary achievements.

“Zaktowiczone” is a book series aimed at introducing poets and writers from different cultural circles, those who are forgotten or, for various reasons, absent from the mainstream literary discourse and publications.


More information: differentsounds.eu and https://www.nck.pl/eng/activities/the-rise-of-eastern-culture

East of Culture – Different Sounds Art’n’Music Festival is organised by:
Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, National Centre for Culture, the City of Lublin, Workshops of Culture in Lublin and Kultura Dostępna.

The Mayor of Lublin, Krzysztof Żuk, has assumed honorary patronage.

Media Patronage: TVP Polonia, Polityka, Gazeta Wyborcza, Polskie Radio Lublin, HIRO, nowamuzyka.pl and ONET

Sponsor: Browar Tenczynek

The festival East of Culture – Different Sounds is part of the Keychange network and guarantees a 50:50 gender balance in the festival’s programme until 2022.

All events are free.