Absolute Zero: Meeting with Artem Chekh

We are thankful to everyone who found time and joined the Ukrainian Studies Program аt Columbia University and Razom for an evening with Ukrainian writer and veteran Artem Chekh.

The highlight of the night was Artem Chekh reading from his landmark 2017 book Tochka Nul (Absolute Zero), a lyrical diary capturing his experiences as a soldier in the war in Donbas. When answering the audience’s questions, Mr. Chekh provided insight into how the Ukrainian army changed in the year that he served. He also commented about how he didn’t know Ukraine before joining the army. He served with people from all walks of life and from different areas of Ukraine. He really loved and treasured this experience with its multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-region mix of people.

Olena Jennings and Oksana Lutsyshyna translated Absolute Zero into English, which will be published by Glagoslav in 2020. Ms. Jennings read excerpts of the translation at the event. Maria Genkin interpreted for Mr. Chekh and Mark Andryczyk moderated the conversation.

About the author:
Artem Chekh was born in the city of Cherkasy in 1985. He studied sociology, but never worked in the field. Instead, he gained work experience as an actor with the Cherkasy Drama Theater, a security guard, a salesclerk, a promoter, a journalist, a copywriter, a maker of artistic models, and a senior marksman and gunner for armored personnel carriers in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Chekh was discharged from the military in 2016 and is the author of nine books. Absolute Zero is his 2017 memoir of his time at the front, and is scheduled for publication in English in 2020. In 2019, Chekh received the prestigious Joseph Conrad Prize. His latest novel, Kvartal D., has been shortlisted for this year’s BBC Book of the Year Prize.

Follow Razom for Ukraine and Razom Book Club on Facebook to learn about our next meetings with Ukrainian authors.

Many thanks to our wonderful photographer Bogdan Grytsiv for the photos from the event.

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