Semester 1 2020-21

Friday 4 March 2022

Semester One


30 September 2020 – Creative Writing in Russia Today

Maya Kucherskaya is a best-selling author, critic, academic, and founder of the leading creative writing school in Russia. In conversation with Margarita Vaysman (Department of Russian), Maya will talk about the seismic changes in creative writing in Russia that followed the fall of the Soviet Union in 1999 from the standpoint of a classically trained academic turned bestselling author and writing instructor


14 October 2020 – An Epic of the Iranian Diaspora

Originally written and published in Persian, Nassim’s Testament relates the oneiric story of two poet friends’ asylum journey from Iran to Britain. In this elegiac epic the main narrator’s resurrected friend accompanies him as a fellow witness. Vahid Davar (Department of Arabic and Persian) will read from the self-translated poem in order to illustrate his recently theorised concept of the modern Persian epic. The reading will be followed by a conversation between Dr Saeed Talajooy (Department of Arabic and Persian) and Vahid Davar

28 October 2020 – Queer Stories, Queer Futures

The film collective, Jünglinge, discuss queer storytelling and their film Futur Drei (No Hard Feelings). Jünglinge use film to reimagine the world from queer of colour perspectives. The German collective, founded by Paulina Lorenz and Faraz Shariat, won Best Queer Film at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival for Futur Drei. The film portrays life in a small German city through the fleeting queer loves and friendships of Parvis, an Iranian-German, and Amon and Banafshe, both Iranian refugees. Jünglinge talk to Tom Smith (Department of German) about their filmmaking and the futures we create when we tell queer stories.



11 November 2020 – Lost Detectives

Claire Whitehead (Department of Russian) and author-illustrator Carol Adlam  discuss their ‘Lost Detectives’ project, with readings from a sample adaptation. The ‘Lost Detectives’ project is devoted to the adaptation and popularisation of forgotten works of nineteenth-century Russian crime fiction. Claire Whitehead  and Carol Adlam discuss their collaborative work on adapting Semyon Panov’s Three Courts (1876), Nikolai Timofeev’s Notes of an Investigator (1872) and Aleksandr Shkliarevskii’s A Secret Investigation (1881). Their conversation will be accompanied by extracts from an adaptation of Notes of an Investigator imagined as an edition of Radio 4’s Today programme.





18 November 2020 – Worlding Books

Meike Ziervogel of Peirene Press is the most innovative publisher of literature in translation working in the UK today. Key to Peirene’s success has been its investment in distinctive literary forms – in collaborative fiction such as Shatila Stories, written by nine refugees, and in the novella. Meike will discuss her pathbreaking approach to worlding literature with Andrew Cusack (Department of German).