Culture News Society, 05/10/2017

Ukrainian and German Writers Breach Isolation with Literary Bridge

Today, October 5, Paper Bridge literary and art project has started in Kharkiv with a performance and discussion.

For three days, Ukrainian and German writers are presenting “good literature” from both countries. Kharkivites and the city visitors are all invited to attend literary performances, lectures, discussions, presentations and a concert, free of charge.

“The literary project was born in Munich during the meeting with Ukrainian writers Oksana Zabuzhko and Yuriy Andrukhovych. The idea was to connect Ukrainian and German writers and their readers in both countries,” festival initiator and head of the Kulturallmende association Verena Nolte stated.

The first festival took place in Lviv in 2015, the following year the project was brought to Dnipro. This year, Kharkiv has been chosen as the third venue, and two more artistic events will be held in Kyiv soon.

According to Verena Nolte, such festival migration direction has proved logical as the German writers got a better perception of Ukraine after Lviv and were eager to move eastward.

“German literature is extremely peculiar, complex and exciting. At the same time, only a few contemporary German authors are represented in Ukrainian bookstores and their translations into Ukrainian are scarce,” project coordinator in Kharkiv Marina Sorokolat notes. “We are facing a familiar problem of isolation as the writers, who are popular in Ukraine, are known mostly at home and the popular German writers are read mainly in Germany. And with Paper Bridge, we are moving these borders apart.”

Today, Christina Nazarkevich, Verena Nolte and Yuriy Prokhasko are presenting the writers, participating in the event, through conversations and short lectures. Also, the reports on Ukrainian readers’ tastes and Ukrainian studies in Europe are being presented.

On Friday, October 6, there will be presentations from the editors and historians and reports about the war in the east. After that, Serhiy Zhadan concert will take place.

“This project provides a good opportunity to talk about important and interesting issues with my colleagues. As a matter of fact, writers need to meet from time to time. They occasionally get some bright insights and need to share them. And the readers do benefit from such meetings, you know,” says Serhiy Zhadan.


The literary fest will last until October 7, with a large scale final discussion of all the participants, who will also make their plans for the next Paper Bridge art festival.

Text, photo: Olena Sokolynska