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Brooklyn Book Festival: Stranger's Guide & NPR

On Ukraine, language, translation, humor & insults

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About the Event

WTF happens to language during war? Let’s look at Ukraine.

Swearing, joke-telling and sweet-nothings are some of our most fun and powerful moments in communicating with one another. But during conflict, language quickly corresponds with power, and translations can become fraught.

Join Stranger’s Guide magazine and NPR’s Rough Translation podcast in conversation with Russian dissident and prolific writer, Dmitry Bykov, and Ukrainian translator and archivist Ostap Kin, as they discuss the politics of language, the art of translation, and challenges of living between languages—as well as tell their favorite profanities.

This conversation will revolve around the topics of Stranger’s Guide Fall Issue: Ukraine, language, translation, humor and insults, and on how language is politicized. SG works with local writers and photographers to build authentic portraits of a place.

This event is part of the annual Brooklyn Book Festival.

Dmitry Bykov: Russian dissident and award-winning author, Dmitry Bykov is one of Russia’s best-known public intellectuals. He is a prolific novelist, poet, critic, satirist, and university professor. He is an Open Society University Network fellow and visiting critic based in the Einaudi Center’s Institute for European Studies (IES) at Cornell.
Ostap Kin: Ukrainian translator Ostap Kin is an Archivist/Librarian/Research Center Coordinator at Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University. He is the editor of New York Elegies: Ukrainian Poems on the City (2019) and translator, with John Hennessy, of Serhiy Zhadan’s selected poems A New Orthography.
Gregory Warner: Host and creator of NPR’s award-winning podcast, Rough Translation, which that tells stories from far off places that hit close to home. Warner’s signature storytelling approach takes us out of our echo chambers.

Kira Brunner Don: Kira Brunner Don is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Stranger’s Guide. She worked as a magazine editor in New York for seventeen years and as a journalist in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. She is co-editor of the book The New Killing Fields: Massacre and the Politics of Intervention and is the founding co-director of the Oakland Book Festival.

photo by Misha Friedman