Belarusian men of pen and ink take part in the programme of the Warsaw Book Fair.
On May 22 in the evening, during the first day of the Fair, in one of the halls of the People’s Stadium of Warsaw, writers Alherd Bakharevich, Artur Klinov and Eva Vezhnavets had a meeting with their readers, and during the panel discussion called “Belarus goes to Europe” they shared their vision on the place of the modern Belarusian literature in the European context, a reporter of charter97.org informs.
“In the book “Bloodlands” by Timothy Snyder, our land is brought up among others, where blood never disappears from the face of the earth, and where thoughts about war never disappear. Typically, 12-15 unarmed civilians per one military man were killed in our land,” Eva Vezhnavets says. “And the aim of the modern Belarusian literature is exactly to show the real ordinary life of Belarusians, without falling into these hard bloody memories too deep. That’s what Artur Klinov and Alherd Bakharevich do successfully.”
The author of the book “Glassware” and the editor-in-chief of “Partisan” magazine Artur Klinov thought it necessary to speak about the events in Ukraine before everything else.
“A Belarusian’s type is a guerilla, a partisan, he always has an intense instinct of self-preservation, he always bears war in his memory. Due to the recent events in Ukraine I was sitting as paralyzed for a few months, I just could not believe it happened. And the most horrible thing, the same scenario threatens Belarus. And Belarus has far fewer chances. There are no mechanisms of salvation, anxiety is the in the air…
In 2010 Belarus was moving in the direction of Belarus slowly, and authorities had to prevent that. That is why the scenario of December 19 was played. The same scenario was followed in Ukraine, though we had a “light” version, as compared to Ukraine. We do not have footholds or mechanism of rescue… There is an impression we are so lonely in the society and in the world. No one in Europe will help us. We are not appealing for anyone. We do not have oil or gas… But Belarus is a bog, if we speak about material. And this bog is very sexy. One should learn to see that. If there is heaven on earth, it’s here, in our marshland. And our aim as writers is to show this “alternative” sexiness.”
“Belarus is not moving towards Europe. It is in Europe already! And for some reason Belarusians confuse the notions “Europe” and “the European Union”, and probably that’s the reason they are losers. Are there discussions in Albania, for instance, whether Albania should go to Europe, I wonder. We do not go anywhere, we are already here! But the EU does not consider us their own part; they have “surrendered” us to Russia… That is why we are so lonely indeed, as Artur Klinov said… And the Belarusian literature is rather vibrant and European,” Alherd Bakharevich said.
In the end of the discussion a translator of the Polish novel by Boleslaw Prus “The Doll” into Belarusian, Małgozsata Buchalik, unexpectedly took the floor.
“The Doll is 900 pages of depression chronicles, it is very hard to read it to the end, not to speak of translating. There are a trip to Paris and to Warsaw in this book… Prus is a brilliant journalist. He has added a very interesting thing. The Russian trace had been ignored all through the novel: Russian speech is not heard, there are no Russians, bells of Russian churches are not ringing. He has done the way Belarusians should do – just to ignore that all on your land, to attach little importance to Russian traces,” Małgozsata Buchalik believes.
The 5th Warsaw Book Fair started its work on May 22 and continues until May 25 at the National Stadium Warsaw. It is expected that more than 500 publishers from different European countries are to take part in it.
By the way, though there is a bookstand of Belarus at the Warsaw Book Fair, the website of the National Library of Belarus does not say a word about it. The news about Russian publishers’ continuing travelling around the world could be found there instead.
Photo by relax.by