Writing, War, Connection – a reflection on recent events

University of Chichester digital writer in residence Volodymyr Rafeienko, BBC special correspondent and writer Fergal Keane, and poet Sasha Dugdale talk about the act of witnessing through writing, and the effects of connection with other writers through times of war and great upheaval.
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In October, a digital writer’s residency from the University of Chichester, the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Stephen Spender Trust started. Ukrainian writer Volodymyr Rafeienko is a participant of the residency; he will be sharing his experience and knowledge with students as part of the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture, organised jointly by the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute.

Novelist Volodymyr Rafeienko had to flee his hometown Donetsk after the beginning of the war in 2014 and settled near Bucha, Kyiv. Due to the full-scale war, the writer had to leave his home for the second time. Before, Volodymyr wrote in Russian and was even a laureate of Russian literary prizes. However, after the beginning of the war, he switched to the Ukrainian language. In 2019, his first novel in Ukrainian Mondegreen. Songs about Death and Love was published by Harvard University Press.

The book was shortlisted for the most prestigious Ukrainian award in the field of art and culture — the Taras Shevchenko National Prize.

BBC correspondent Fergal Keane is one of the BBC’s most distinguished correspondents. He has received numerous plaudits for his work including awards from BAFTA, the Emmy and Peabody awards in the United States and the Amnesty International Press Awards. He is the author of ten history and non-fiction books including the Orwell Prize-winning Season of Blood: Rwandan Journey and 2022’s The Madness: a memoir of war, fear and PTSD.

Poet and translator Sasha Dugdale has published five collections of poems with Carcanet, most recently Deformations in 2020. She won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2016 and in 2017 she was awarded a Cholmondeley Prize for Poetry. She is former editor of Modern Poetry in Translation and poet-in-residence at St John’s College, Cambridge (2018-2020).

More information about the event

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