Skip to content
March 31, 2023 / Irene2468

Registration begins on May 24 , 2023 for Newberry Class “Understanding Ukraine through Contemporary Literature”

Cover art: Marc Chagall, Interior II (Detail), 1911 c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2015

Cover of Grey Bees

Cover design by Emily Mahon

Cover of Lucky Breaks

Cover design by Matt Dorfman

This summer, we will be reading works by three contemporary Ukrainian authors writing in Russian who testify to the diverse and multicultural identity of Ukraine: Margarita Khemlin’s (1960-2015) The Investigator, with its polyphony of Ukrainian and Jewish voices in the post-war Soviet Ukraine of the 1950s; Andrey Kurkov’s (b. 1961) Grey Bees, focusing on contemporary Ukraine’s grey zone between loyalist and separatist forces; and Yevgenia Belorusets’s (b. 1980) collection of stories Lucky Breaks, bringing us the ironic and lyrical world of the displaced women from Eastern Ukraine.

We will focus on close textual analysis of Ukrainian literature and arts over a period of six (6) meetings, supplemented by biographical, historical, and critical information that I will present at the beginning of each meeting. During the course, we will be reading about Ukraine as part of the Soviet Union and as an independent state. I will collect, translate, and share articles, memes, cartoons, art, and social media pertinent to providing a better understanding of contemporary Ukraine.

During the last class, we will discuss the situation in Ukraine after February 24, 2022, when Russia launched a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, plunging the entire country into war and sending shock-waves across the world. The discussion will be centered on excerpts from the 2022 diaries of the invasion by Andrey Kurkov and Yevgenia Belorusets, anti-war visual arts, and other important documentary accounts and films.

The class starts on Saturday, June 17, 2023 and ends on July 22, 2023. Classes will be held via Zoom on Saturday mornings from 10:00 am to noon.

For the complete course description, including weekly readings, click here.

For the Newberry’s course description, click here.

Registration starts at 9:00 am Central Time on May 24, 2023. The class listings will be available on Learning Stream on May 19. To see the summer Adult Education classes at the Newberry, click here. For the Newberry’s registration policies, go to the Newberry’s Adult Education page and scroll to “Registration and Pricing.”