The Last Words in the World: Ukrainians and the War Experience

Event time: 
Friday, November 10, 2023 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm
Henry R. Luce Hall LUCE, 203 See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
Olena Stiazhkina, prominent Ukrainian writer and Professor of History
Event description: 

The European Studies Council presents prominent Ukrainian writer and Professor of History, Olena Stiazhkina on “The Last Words in the World: Ukrainians and the War Experience”
Moderated by Marci Shore, Associate Professor of History (Yale)

Lunch at 12:30pm ET, talk at 1:00pm ET
Location: Luce Hall, Rm 203 (2nd fl), 34 Hillhouse Ave
Part of the European & Russian Studies Community Lunch Seminar Series & the Reading Ukraine: New Ukrainian Books Presentation Series

Dr. Olena Stiazhkina, exiled from Donetsk since the 2014 Russian occupation, will give a presentation on the occasion of the upcoming publication of her two books in the English language, the novel “Cecil the Lion Had to Die” and “Ukraine, War, Love: A Donetsk Diary”. In her talk she will share some episodes from Donetsk’s recent history that are entangled with her own experiences. She will speak about life in the world of the last words, about the Kennedy brothers who lived and worked in Donetsk, about a referendum on Donetsk joining the United Kingdom, about a New York where few New Yorkers have ever been, about lectures given to rats in the Izolyatsia concentration camp, and about the choice to be Ukrainian as a choice of love and freedom.

Bio: A historian by training, Olena Stiazhkina is a prolific Ukrainian writer and journalist with numerous scholarly publications and eleven books of fiction. Until the occupation of the city of Donetsk, she taught Slavic history at the Vasyl Stus National University in Donetsk (1993–2015) and then at the Mariupol State University (2015–2016). Her scholarly interests focus on women’s history, life in the Soviet Union, and the history of the Donbas. Since 2016, she has served as the senior research fellow at the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Her works of fiction comprise collections of short stories, novels, and detective stories (under the pen name Olena Iurska). She is the recipient of such awards as the Coronation of the Word (2000), Belkin Prize (short list for the main prize and winner in the category “The Teachers’ Belkin,” 2012), and Russian Prize (2014). In 2016, she was nominated for the prestigious Vasyl Stus Prize, which is awarded by PEN Ukraine to artists and public figures for their exceptional contribution to Ukrainian culture and for their courageous public stance. Having written almost exclusively in Russian before, Stiazhkina has been transitioning to writing in Ukrainian following the Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2014. Most recent scholarly book: The Stigma of Occupation: Self-Perception of Soviet Women in the 1940s (in Ukrainian, 2019). Most recent book of fiction: Cecil the Lion’s Death Was Not in Vain (in Ukrainian; English translation forthcoming from Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute in 2023).

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