Kick-Off Event in Kiev

Goethe-Institut Ukraine, April 5, 2013
1. 5. 2013

On 5th of April at 7:00 p.m. in Kiev an evening of literature, translation and music took place, where the prose writer Dzvinka Matijash, the translators Andy Jelčić, Yurko Prokhasko and Claudia Dathe as well as the author and editor Yurko Izdryk with his band Drumtiatr were part of the program.


The Literature and Translation Project TransStar Europe was Launched with a Kick-Off Event on April 5 in Kiev

by Maria Shubchyk

The great number of guests who participated in the kick-off activities in the venue hall of the Goethe Institute Ukraine was proof that the interest in the new project remains unbroken in Ukraine (the majority was made up of translators, journalists, professors, students and other actors on the literary stage in Ukraine ).

The purpose of the event was for participating project partners to have the opportunity to meet each other and also to present the project to a broader public. The audience was welcomed by Dr. Petra Köppel-Meyer (Acting Director of the Goethe Institute Ukraine) and by Prof. Taras Kyiak (National Taras Shevtshenko University).

The moderator of the event, Dr. Maria Ivanytska, in a brief introduction to the topic described the situation of Ukrainian literature and its translation in a European context and introduced three of the working groups (German-Ukrainian, Ukrainian-German and German-Croatian). The coordinator of the project, Claudia Dathe, summarized the overall concept and objectives of the project, providing a brief insight into the planned work within the framework of TransStar.

The guests were treated to a public discussion with the mentors of the translator groups Claudia Dathe, Andy Jelčić and Yurko Prokhasko. For the Ukrainian readers surely the opinion of the Croatian translator Andy Jelčić was very interesting. He spoke about how he personally chooses texts and authors and how he envisions the ideal reader. Also the reception of German-language literary works in Croatia was discussed. The same question was also posed to the Ukrainian translator Yurko Prokhasko, who already has acquainted the Ukrainian readership with a number of German-language authors.

Of course the audience was also very interested in finding out how Ukrainian literature is perceived abroad. Unfortunately not many translators into German are proficient in the Ukrainian language, but luckily Ukrainian literature is being popularized by those active in this area who have great enthusiasm. Like Claudia Dathe for instance, who has translated several Ukrainian works (e.g., by Serhiy Zhadan, Tanja Malyarchuk, recently also by Maria Matios ) into German. During the discussion Claudia had to answer rather provocative questions with respect to what the German-language reader expects from Ukrainian literature and whether it is considered to be part of European literature or whether it is rather considered to be exotic.

Ukrainian literature was presented firsthand from Dzwinka Matiyash and Yurko Izdryk, both authors. Creatively they are complete polar opposites: the calm and very deep prose of Dzvinka is an absolute contrast to the satirical and sometimes cynical written language style of Izdryk.

Texts can be expressed in a different manner and framed in a new way – this was demonstrated by the band Drumtiatr which consists of the writer Hryhorii Semenchuk, Yurko Izdryk, and Olexiy Gmyria. The audience was obviously thrilled by the interplay of words, visualizations and music.

The successful evening ended with a small buffet.

Here are some photos of the evening.

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