A University Press Week event!
Third Place Books is thrilled to welcome historian and writer Olena Stiazhkina and translator Dominique Hoffman to our Ravenna store! They will be discussing Stiazhkina's latest books, Cecil the Lion Had to Die, translated by Hoffman, and Ukraine, War, Love: A Donetsk Diary, translated by Anne Fisher. Cecil the Lion Had to Die is a tour de force of stylistic registers, intertwining stories, and ironic voices, this novel is a must-read for those who seek deeper understanding of how Ukrainian history and local identity shapes war with Russia. In Ukraine, War, Love, Stiazhkina depicts day-to-day developments in and around her beloved hometown Donetsk during Russia's 2014 invasion and occupation of the Ukrainian city. This event is free and open to the public.
For important updates, registration is highly recommended in advance. This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!
November 13–17 is University Press Week! Since 2012, University Press Week has provided an annual opportunity to raise awareness of the work of university presses. University presses and other nonprofit scholarly publishers perform invaluable services for researchers, teachers, librarians, and the rest of the scholarly community, for the broader world of readers, and ultimately for society itself. While university presses individually highlight what they do year-round, University Press Week allows us to celebrate the value and quality of university presses with one voice.
for this in-person event
In 1986 Soviet Ukraine, two boys and two girls are welcomed into the world in a Donetsk maternity ward. Following a Soviet tradition of naming things after prominent Communist leaders from far away, a local party functionary offers great material benefits for naming children after Ernst Thälmann, the leader of the German Communist Party from 1925 to 1933. The fateful decision is made, and the local newspaper presents the newly born Ernsts and Thälmas in a photo on the front page, forever tying four families together.
In Cecil the Lion Had to Die, Olena Stiazhkina follows these families through radical transformations when the Soviet Union unexpectedly implodes, independent Ukraine emerges, and neoimperial Russia occupies Ukraine’s Crimea and parts of the Donbas. Just as Stiazhkina’s decision to transition to writing in Ukrainian as part of her civic stance—performed in this book that begins in Russian and ends in Ukrainian—the stark choices of family members take them in different directions, presenting a multifaceted and nuanced Donbas.
A tour de force of stylistic registers, intertwining stories, and ironic voices, this novel is a must-read for those who seek deeper understanding of how Ukrainian history and local identity shapes war with Russia.
In Ukraine, War, Love, Olena Stiazhkina depicts day-to-day developments in and around her beloved hometown Donetsk during Russia’s 2014 invasion and occupation of the Ukrainian city. An award-winning fiction writer, Stiazhkina chronicles an increasingly harrowing series of events with sarcasm, anger, humor, and love.
The diary opens on March 2, 2014, as the first wave of pro-Russian protest washes over eastern Ukraine in the wake of Euromaidan, the Revolution of Dignity, and it closes on August 18, 2014, the day a convoy of civilian Ukrainian refugees is deliberately slaughtered by Russian forces. Early on, Stiazhkina is captured by pro-Russian forces while she browses for books but is freed when one of her captors turns out to be a former student. Vignettes from her personal life intermingle with current events, and she examines ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. We walk with local dogs and their owners; we meet a formidable apartment building manager who shames occupiers and dismantles their artillery from the roof of her building; we follow a family evacuated to Kyiv whose young son builds checkpoints out of Legos. Olena Stiazhkina’s Ukraine, War, Love: A Donetsk Diary is a fierce love letter to her country, her city, and her people.
Olena Stiazhkina is a historian and award-winning Ukrainian writer and journalist. Her fiction, under the pen name Olena Iurska, includes short stories, novels, and detective stories. She was a professor of Slavic history at Donetsk National University until the occupation of the city, as well as at Mariupol State University. Having written almost exclusively in Russian before, Stiazhkina transitioned to writing in Ukrainian following the Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2014.
Dominique Hoffman is a translator, researcher and teacher with a focus on literature, art and cultural history. She translates Ukrainian fiction and nonfiction from both Ukrainian and Russian (or in the case of Cecil the Lion, both in a single work). Forthcoming work includes Ukraine: the Forging of a Nation by Yaroslav Hrytsak and The Face of Fire by Oleksii Nikitin.
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