Two brilliant authors on Ukraine’s struggle

During the very weekend that marked the second year of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, writer Tanya Malyarchuk and translator, author and psychoanalyst Jurko Prochasko were our guests at the International Literature Days in Zürich, dedicated to the idea and experience of “disappearance”. The two Ukrainian intellectuals made a remarkably strong impression on everyone who attended the event in the Literaturhaus Zürich – and beyond, in a wider public sphere.

In her poignant and moving opening speech, Tanya Malyarchuk presented Ukraine as a country that stands in a dark tradition of disappearance: “We disappear and disappear, and in the end we are still a little bit here, today perhaps even more than ever before. (…) In fact, in my country, if you had the ambition, you could set up a museum of disappearance in every little corner of the land. I know what I’m talking about, because I come from the emptiness that follows from such disappearance. And my second insight is this: Disappearances usually conceal a crime. The perpetrators are deceptive and disguise themselves. To make things and people disappear is one of their tried and tested methods, and their intention is simply to  get away with it. To keep on making things disappear.”

Tanya Malyarchuk’s speech was published – in German – in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (also available here).

In an interview in the Republik, Malyarchuk talks in depth about about the threat Russia poses to the free world and the difficulties of a writer finding words to describe the pain of the last two years.

In the NZZ, Jurko Prochasko talks about his indescribable fear and why there is dignity in guilt (in German).

The fabulous conversation between Tanja Maljartschuk and Jurko Prochasko, sensitively moderated by Sylvia Sasse, is available in full here.

Sign up to the Debates on Europe Newsletter

Sign up to find out about upcoming events.