Razom has recently supported the publication of Olena Stiazhkina’s novel “Cecil The Lion Had to Die” by Harvard University Press’s HURI Books.
In this novel, Stiazhkina follows the fate of four families as the world around them undergoes radical transformations when the Soviet Union unexpectedly implodes, independent Ukraine emerges, and neo imperial Russia begins its war by occupying Ukraine’s Crimea and parts of the Donbas. Stiazhkina shows how new identities are forged based on distant and recent decisions people make when faced with the situation of a stark choice. Just as Stiazhkina’s own decision to transition to writing in Ukrainian as part of her civic stance—performed between the covers of this book that begins in Russian and ends in Ukrainian—the choices that the members of the four families make, take them in vastly different directions, presenting an image of the Donbas that is multifaceted and nuanced. A tour de force of stylistic registers and intertwining stories, ironic voices and sincere discoveries, this novel is a must read for those who seek to more deeply understand Ukrainians from the Donbas, and how history and local identity have shaped the current war with Russia.
A historian by training, Olena Stiazhkina is a prolific Ukrainian writer and journalist with numerous scholarly publications and eleven books of fiction. Until the occupation of the city of Donetsk, she taught Slavic history at Vasyl Stus National University in Donetsk (1993–2015) and then at Mariupol State University (2015–2016). Her scholarly interests focus on women’s history, life in the Soviet Union, and the history of the Donbas. Since 2016, she has served as the senior research fellow at the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Her works of fiction comprise collections of short stories, novels, and detective stories (under the pen name Olena Iurska). Having written almost exclusively in Russian before, Stiazhkina has been transitioning to writing in Ukrainian following Russia’s 2014 aggression against Ukraine .
The novel will be published by Harvard University Press in their Havard Library of Ukrainian Literature in the beginning of 2024. Advance copies of “Cecil the Lion had to Die” and “Ukraine War/Love: A Donetsk Diary” will be available at the November events listed below.
Razom is proud to be coordinating this book tour in partnership with other organizations.
- NOVEMBER 8th BOSTON
Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, 6:00 pm
Pritsak Memorial Library at HURI, 34 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
- NOVEMBER 9th DARTMOUTH
- NOVEMBER 10th YALE
Henry R. Luce Hall LUCE, 203 34 Hillhouse Avenue New Haven, CT
- NOVEMBER 11th NEW YORK
Ukrainian Institute of America, 7:00 pm
The Forest Surrounds Poets event by Yara Arts dedicated to Victoria Amelina
- NOVEMBER 13th NEW YORK
- NOVEMBER 14th MARYLAND
- NOVEMBER 15th DC
- NOVEMBER 16TH DC
Ukraine House, 6:00 pm
Washington, 2134 Kalorama Rd NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
- NOVEMBER 17th NEW YORK
NYU Jordan Center, 5 pm
- NOVEMBER 18th SEATTLE
Third Place Books, Ravenna, 7:00 pm
Olena Stiazhkina and Translator Dominique Hoffman
- NOVEMBER 20th San Diego
UCSD, 10:00 am
Huerta Vera Cruz Room, Student Center
- NOVEMBER 25th Philadelphia
Ukrainian League of Philadelphia, 800 N 23rd St at 7PM
- NOVEMBER 27th Princeton
144 Louis A. Simpson International Building, 12 pm
- NOVEMBER 29th Penn State
157 Burrowers, Penn State, 4:00 pm
- NOVEMBER 30th Philadelphia
Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Floor: 5th Floor, Salon C