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Svetlana Alexievich's Nobel Prize for Literature: Texts, Contexts, Controversies

Thursday, October 29, 2015
4:00 AM
3308 MLB (Conference Room)

The Slavic Department marks the award of the 2015 Nobel Prize for literature with two events devoted to laureate Svetlana Alexievich.

Wednesday, 28 October, 2-4 pm in Russian  -- lecture and reading, followed by discussion, chaired by Svitlana Rogovyk, Coordinator of Slavic Languages, University of Michigan

Thursday, 29 October, 4-5 pm in English – discussion of Alexievich, her profile, her works, and the reactions to the award in the Slavic world, led by UM Professors Mikhail Krutikov and Michael Makin

In awarding the 2015 Nobel prize to Alexievich, the author of widely praised “documentary prose” exploring through  popular polyphony key aspects of the Soviet experience, the prize committee identified her work as a “monument to suffering and courage in our time”.  The Belarusian writer, born in Ukraine of a Ukrainian mother and a Belarusian father, unpublished in modern Belarus, writing in Russian, resident of Western Europe between 2000 and 2013, seems to many a perfect representative of the Europe of the twenty-first century, although her work is mostly grounded in the experiences and even literary forms of the twentieth century and the Soviet Union.  In the west, the Nobel Prize has generally been greeted with approval -- the New Republic called her “The Dostoevsky of Nonfiction” – although she is less well known in the Anglophone world than elsewhere.  Meanwhile, in both Belarus and Russia the diverse reactions to the award have revealed key fault lines in the contemporary cultural landscapes of Eastern Europe.