Ukraine is the largest country within Europe, but for decades it has been the continent’s ‘terra malecognita’, poorly known and badly understood.

Zabuzhko’s literary prose has been a breakthrough in more ways than one

Rory Finnin

Tonight, Cambridge welcomes a poet, civic activist, philosopher and novelist whose work is actively putting Ukraine back on the map and exposing the country’s rich, complex culture to new English-language audiences: Oksana Zabuzhko.

Zabuzhko is the author of such groundbreaking bestsellers as Field Research in Ukrainian Sex (1996) and The Museum of Abandoned Secrets (2009), which was recently praised in the Polish press as ‘one of the most important Eastern European novels since 1989’.

She has long been a literary star on the European continent and a leading intellectual in her home country. Now, thanks to new online commercial platforms like AmazonCrossing, her work is widely available in English translation. It promises to change the way Ukraine is understood in Great Britain and beyond.

"Zabuzhko’s literary prose has been a breakthrough in more ways than one," said Dr Rory Finnin, Lecturer in Ukrainian Studies and Chair of the Cambridge Committee for Russian and East European Studies. "From confronting the position of the postcolonial female in Ukraine to excavating the tortured terrain of public memory in what Timothy Snyder calls the ‘Bloodlands’, she is sparking critical debate and discussion about the legacy of the past and the promise of the future in Eastern Europe. Her works, now translated beautifully into English, are ensuring that Great Britain is part of the conversation."

Zabuzhko will deliver the Eleventh Annual Stasiuk Lecture in Contemporary Ukrainian Studies at 5pm on Friday, 22 February 2013 in the Umney Theatre of Robinson College, Cambridge.

The Stasiuk Lecture explores the internal dynamics and international implications of events in today's Ukraine and features the foremost experts in the fields of Ukrainian politics, history, and society. Zabuzhko’s English-language presentation is colourfully entitled ‘Being a Writer in Contemporary Ukraine: Drawing the Landscape While Standing on a Powerboat.’

The event is open to all and free to attend.

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