Uilleam Blacker 🇺🇦 Profile picture
Ukrainian/East European culture @UCLSSEES. Translator of 🇺🇦 literature. International Booker Prize 2023 judge. Fellow @LeverhulmeTrust & @IWM_Vienna.
Mar 9 6 tweets 2 min read
Today is Taras Shevchenko's birthday. Two years ago, a Russian soldier shot his monument at Borodianka, near Kyiv. It's only one of many instances when oppressive Russian regimes have showed a violent fear of Shevchenko. Here's just a couple 1/5 Image After his death in Petersburg, Shevchenko was reburied in Ukraine. The authorities feared his grave at Kaniv could become the focus for revolt. His monument was guarded by soldiers on the anniversaries of his birth/death to stop gatherings (here it's 1914, his centenary). 2/5 Image
Mar 8 12 tweets 4 min read
For #IWD2024, another 🧵, this time of some of my Ukrainian women translator heroes. First: Halyna Hryn, translator of Oksana Zabuzhko's Field Work in Ukrainian Sex, a landmark in Ukrainian postcolonial/feminist writing and a tough stylistic challenge! amazon.co.uk/Fieldwork-Ukra…
Image Next, Nina Murray, translator of some enormous novels (Zabuzhko's Museum of Abandoned Secrets, Lutsyshyna's Ivan & Phoebe) and of Lesia Ukrainka's feminist modernist masterpiece Cassandra for @HURI_Harvard. Excerpt below @ukrlondonreview londonukrainianreview.org/posts/cassandra
Jul 11, 2023 4 tweets 2 min read
Last week I had translations of two Ukrainian writers published:
Maik Yohansen, killed by Russia 1937
Victoria Amelina, killed by Russia 2023
My last message from Victoria was about a reference in her poem to another poet I've translated, Vasyl Stus, killed by Russia 1985. 1/4

An excerpt from my forthcoming translation of Maik Yohansen's brilliantly eccentric avant-garde landscape novel on @StatORec. You can pre-order from @HURI_Harvard here 2/4 https://t.co/fQzJM11rNfhup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?is…
Dec 12, 2022 5 tweets 1 min read
I'm seeing the current decolonisation debate being linked a lot to speculation on the break up of the Russian Federation & Ru far-right nationalist ideas. This seems problematic for several reasons. First, it simply centres the whole debate, once again, on Russia & Moscow. 1/5 It also effectively cuts out the people who are driving the debate right now - people from Ukraine, Central Asia, etc, making it into a sort of internal Russian problem that outsiders don't understand. 2/5
Sep 26, 2022 9 tweets 3 min read
One of Taras Shevchenko's most famous lines is "Борітеся – поборете!"/"Fight and you'll prevail!" (famously recited on Maidan by murdered protester Serhii Nihoyan). The line, from "The Caucasus" (1845), was originally addressed to Muslim peoples resisting Russian imperialism. 1/ It's a brilliant poem, shifting between praise for the Caucasian peoples' resistance & searing satire of imperial hypocrisy, as Shevchenko ironically adopts the voice of the coloniser. Translations by John Weir bit.ly/3RghAgR and Vera Rich bit.ly/3CaoYWC 2/
May 30, 2022 14 tweets 5 min read
“While I am here seeing to my health, I have the chance to take a look at this ‘Europe’ and its Europeans,” wrote Lesia Ukrainka, one of Ukraine’s greatest writers, feminist & modernist, in 1891 on a visit to Vienna. She was being treated for tuberculosis of the bones. 1/ Image Here is a short thread on Lesia Ukrainka’s time in Vienna, based on Tamara Hundorova’s fantastic forthcoming book, which I have the honour to be translating in Vienna through the @IWM_Vienna's Paul Celan Translation Programme 2/ Image
Mar 7, 2022 11 tweets 6 min read
Russian bombs have damaged one of the most important buildings in Ukrainian literary history, the Slovo House in Kharkiv. It was built in the late 1920s to house the writers of Kharkiv, then the capital of Soviet Ukraine & the epicentre of a Ukrainian cultural renaissance 1/ It was meant to provide modern, spacious conditions for writers and foster a creative community. It is one of many impressive modernist buildings in Kharkiv. It was designed in the shape of a Cyrillic letter 'C' for 'слово' - 'word'. 2/
Feb 22, 2022 6 tweets 2 min read
Ivan Dziuba, a literary scholar & activist, died today at 91. He was a native of Donetsk region, Holodomor survivor & one of Ukraine's most important dissidents. His work is very relevant today. 1/6 Image In 1965, he led probably the first anti-government public protest in the USSR. At the premier of Parajanov’s film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors in Kyiv, he stood up with poet Vasyl Stus and activist Viacheslav Chornovil to protest recent arrests of Ukrainian writers. 2/6 Image
Feb 16, 2022 11 tweets 8 min read
Anyone who wants to understand what Russia has put Ukraine through over the last 8 years should read the new Ukrainian war literature. Some excellent works are available in English. Here are a few authors worth reading. 🧵 1/ Volodymyr Rafeyenko's story ‘7 Dillweeds’ transl. Marci Shore, explores the grotesque absurdity of the war: eurozine.com/seven-dillweed… He switched from Rus to Ukr in his novel Mondegreen (transl Mark Andryczyk), about internal exile/language/identity: books.huri.harvard.edu/books/rafeyenk… 2/
Jan 24, 2022 8 tweets 5 min read
People are discussing whether Russia colonised Ukraine. My advice: read Ukrainian authors, all will become clear! Shevchenko, Lesya Ukrainka, Khvyl'ovyi, Dziuba, Andrukhovych, Zabuzhko, & many more have been writing about this forever. 🧵 1/8
(image: Kazakh boy, T. Shevchenko) Taras Shevchenko's poetry is a model of anti-colonial cultural resistance, & not only about Ukraine, see his brilliant 'Caucasus', for example. Vera Rich's translation: bit.ly/3qV4TOH See also Rory Finnin's analysis @CamUkrainistyka: jstor.org/stable/4214123 2/8