Mobile menu
VISEGRAD FOCUS: Belarus - Presentation of Belarusian literature at BRAK in Bratislava

VISEGRAD FOCUS: Belarus - Presentation of Belarusian literature at BRAK in Bratislava

A presentation of Belarusian authors will take place in Bratislava during the BRaK book festival. An exhibition of books written by Belarusian authors will be provided by a Belarusian partner as an official part of the presentation.

Belarusian authors Uladzimir Arlov, Alexander Lukašuk, Sjarhej Kalenda and Eva Vežnavec, that are gathered within the project FOCUSED-ON BELARUS/ VISEGRAD FOCUS BELARUS, will be presented during the Bratislava Book Festival #BRaK. The festival will take place from 11 to 15 May 2022 in the cultural center Nová Cvernovka under the motto "Not afraid of degrowth".

The authors will present their work within the program of the multi-genre ninth edition of international festival BRaK which includes, in addition to a sales exhibition of books from small and medium-sized publishing houses, also discussions with authors, workshops, concerts, theater performances and exhibitions.



 SATURDAY 14. 5.

17:00    fokus Bielorusko vol.1 (Arlov, Lukašuk)

venue: Kabinet pomalosti

Uladzimir Arlov (Уладзімір Арлоў) is novelist, poet and historian. He was born in 1953 in Polack. He graduated from the Faculty of History of the Belarusian State University in Minsk and subsequently worked as a teacher, journalist or publishing editor. He published his first texts in the student samizdat, which made him the target of the KGB. He is the author of many prose books, poetry and historical essays. His works have been translated into several European languages, including Czech. Arlov is the holder of a number of independent literary awards, such as the European Poet of Freedom (Poland, 2010), Aleko (Bulgaria, 2016) or the Jerzy Giedroyc Award for the best Belarusian prose book of the year (2018).

Aljaxandr Lukašuk (Аляксандар Лукашук) is a long-standing director of the Belarusian Radio Free Europe station and a co-founder of the memory institute Mortirolog of Belarus. He was born in 1955 in Brest. In 1990-95, he was a member of the Commission of the Verkhovna Rada of Belarus on matters of victims of political repression. Lukashuk is the author of several popular books on the history of Belarus in the 20th century and hundreds of articles and interviews on the contemporary political situation in Belarus published in American and European media. He is also the author of scripts of several documentary films and the holder of the international award of František Bahuševič of the Belarusian PEN-club.


18:00: Saša Filipenko (BY)

A story about a boy and a country where nothing changes/

Príbeh o chlapcovi a krajine, kde sa nič nemení

venue: Park de Palma

Svetlana Alexievich claims that Belarusian writer Saša Filipenko is one of those young authors who immediately became a serious ones. Book The Ex-Son (publishing, 2022) written by Saša Filipenka was banned in Belarus and its launch was therefore held in Kyiv.  In 2021, PEN International declared him a victim of censorship.

A sixteen-year-old boy falls into a coma and recovers after ten years. However, he finds himself in a country where absolutely nothing has changed in ten years. It is ruled by the same person, young people leave it in droves and every protest is suppressed.

The discussion with the author is hosted by Michal Hvorecký. Andrej Remeník reads a sample from the book The Ex-Son.


SUNDAY 15. 5.

14:00   fokus Bielorusko vol. 2  (Kalenda, Vežnavec)

venue: Ateliér Svetlík

Sjarhej Kalenda (Сяргей Календа, born 1985 in Kapyl) is a writer and editor, a culturologist and Hebraist by formation. He studied at the Faculty of International Relations of the Belarusian State University and at the Department of Literature and Philosophy of the Belarusian College. He is a member of the Belarusian PEN Club and the Union of Belarusian Writers. He has published a dozen of books of prose, some of which were shortlisted for various literary awards: for example the autobiographic confession A Journey to The Bed’s Edge (Падарожжа на край ложка, 2016), the short story collection Punks Die Sometimes (Часам панкі паміраюць, 2018), or the collection of short stories for children Baltic Socks (Балтыйскія шкарпэткі, 2019). With his first wife, the artist Vasilisa Palyanina, he published the magazine of topical prose Makulatura (ten issues were released, one of which was dedicated to Slovak literature); from 2017, he has been publishing the irregular literary magazine Minkult. As a child, Kalenda attended classes of clarinet and saxophone at a music school; in recent years, he has dedicated himself to visual arts and is a renowned professional hairdresser.

Eva Vezhnavets (Ева Вежнавец), real name Svyatlana Kurs (Святлана Курс, born 1972 in Lyuban) graduated from the Philological Faculty of the Belarusian State University. After a politically motivated dismissal from the State Radio she went through a number of jobs – working for example as a shop assistant, nanny and chambermaid in several European countries and in the US. After returning to Belarus, she co-operated as a journalist with various independent media. In recent years she has lived in Warsaw, Poland. She is the author of the books The journey of a bitch (Шлях дробнай сволачы, 2008) a What are you after, wolf? (Па што ідзеш, воўча?, 2020). She started out working on the latter novella when she was in Los Angeles on a scholarship program financed by the German federal government; samples from this book were published in Czech translation in the magazines A2 and Host. The book was awarded the Jerzy Giedroyc Prize for the best prose book. In 2007, she attended the Month of Author’s Reading festival in Brno.

BRaK Bratislava Book Festival exists since 2014. The V4 scenes in book publishing and literature are very rich, lively and inspiring to each other. Over the last few years there has been a progress in starting collaborations and crossing projects among them. BRaK festival was always aspiring to be the platform for small and middle publishers and to bring opportunities for them and other market key players, artists, graphic designers and illustrators. After 5 years of building a common V4 platform, connections with Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Ukrainian artists, networking and growing dramaturgically as a festival, this project aims at the further development of the festival and the platform, sustaining the quality of the program and addressing the current issues and topics in the Central European region. There is still a gap and many unfulfilled possibilities for cooperation. Countries of our region are often sharing the same problems, society issues that are reflected in the contemporary literature and publishing. Despite geographical proximity and many cooperations and projects, the V4 book markets are still evolving independently, with the lack of professional links between authors, publishers, translators, illustrators and book designers from the V4 countries. BRaK festival started and continues as an event, that has focus on connecting people from the field of professional artistic book publishing, that brings the current topics and people in our region to the forefront.

The Focus on Belarus project is co-financed by the governments of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia through Visegrad grants. The mission of the fund is to promote the ideas of sustainable regional cooperation in Central Europe.