Literary Panels and Book Launches at Different Sounds 2024


For 11 years, East of Culture – Different Sounds has been a platform for showcasing the latest literature from Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic States..

This year’s festival will feature 9 book premieres, including releases from the Literary Eastern Express (LEE) project, an extension of the Wschodni Express series. The new releases span genres such as comics, historical essays, and children’s literature. Book premieres will be accompanied by discussions on both the themes of the books themselves and the socio-cultural context in which they were created. This is the 17th edition of Different Sounds organised by Workshops of Culture in Lublin and the 11th edition held under the banner of East of Culture, a project implemented by the National Centre for Culture with funds from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and by 3 cities in eastern Poland – Lublin, Białystok and Rzeszów.

“This year’s festival brings a vibrant selection of contemporary poetry and prose in translation from Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Estonia. The panel discussions offer a unique opportunity for direct interaction with these creative minds, fostering an exchange of thoughts and experiences. We’ll be treated to excerpts from their works, both in their original languages and in Polish translation. This immersive approach allows for a deeper understanding and appreciation of both the authors’ voices and the crucial role translators play in bridging cultures. Additionally, the festival offers a chance to purchase books and have them signed by the authors themselves. All literary discussions will be held within the Workshops of Culture buildings” says Monika Ostrowska from the Publishing Department.


27 June

17:00 – 18:00 | Kateryna Babkina: “Cappy and the Whale” (LEE project)
Participants: Kateryna Babkina – author, Bohdan Zadura – translator, moderator: Tomasz Sikora, interpreter: Andrij Saweneć | Workshops of Culture, Grodzka 7 – patio
“Cappy and the Whale” is a moving story of an eight-year-old boy named “Cappy” who is diagnosed with leukemia. One day, the hero notices a whale swimming in the air outside his window. The disease prevents him from doing the things that every eight-year-old should be able to do, so when the whale offers the boy a shared adventure, Cappy accepts the offer and sets off on a ride through the sky with his new, extraordinary friend! “Cappy and the Whale” is an extraordinary, warm story about friendship, awakening imagination and curiosity, the need to build safe worlds, and about hope.

Kateryna Babkina (born 1985 in Ivano-Frankivsk) is one of the most popular Ukrainian writers of the middle generation. Prose writer, poet, screenwriter, columnist, translator. Her work has been translated into English, Czech, French, Spanish, German, Swedish, Romanian, Russian and Hebrew. She made her debut in Poland with a collection of short stories entitled “Happy Naked People” published by Workshops of Culture in Lublin in 2016. For the novel “Grandfather danced the best” she received the ANGELUS 2021 Central European Literary Award and the ANGELUS 2021 Readers’ Award named after Natalia Gorbanevskaya. After the start of Russia’s full-scale aggression against Ukraine, she moved to Wrocław, where she took part in a literary residency. She currently lives in the UK. This year, for the first time, Workshops of Culture in Lublin are publishing her children’s book for Polish readers.

June 27 18:30 – 19:30 | “Kharkiv 1938” by Oleksandr Irvanets (LEE project)
Participants: Oleksandr Irvanets – author, Andrij Saweneć – translator, moderator: Switłana Ołeszko | Warsztaty Kultury in Lublin, ul. Grodzka 7 – patio
Imagine that after winning the war with Bolshevik Russia in 1920, Ukraine defeated all external and internal enemies, growing into a world power. Every year, the capital of the Ukrainian Workers’ and Peasants’ Republic, a country building national communism, hosts the Proletarian Carnival. Politicians, writers, artists, spies, and assassins come to the city. Among the carnival guests are Leni Riefenstahl and Nobel laureate Olha Kobylanska, Ernest Hemingway and Henry Miller… Meanwhile, one of the guests, someone invisible, powerful and dangerous, becomes the target of the search for SBU colonel Yuriy Kotsiuba. In the novel “Kharkiv 1938” Oleksandr Irvanets , in a mocking and iconoclastic tone, plays with the conventions of alternative history, dystopia and spy thriller. Letting his imagination run wild, he delves into the deep recesses of Ukrainian national traumas and complexes.

Ołeksandr Irvanets (born 1961 in Lviv) is a poet, prose writer, playwright, and translator. He grew up in Rivne, Volyn, and from 1990 to 2022 lived in Irpin near Kyiv. Graduate of the Maxim Gorky Institute of Literature in Moscow (1989). Together with Yuriy Andruhovych and Viktor Neborak, he co-founded the legendary literary group Bu-Ba-Bu. In Polish translations, a selection of his dramas “Recording” and other works (2001), novels “Rivne/Rowno” (2008) and “Lovecraft’s Disease” (2013), and poems “Vanya from Ryazan” (2022) were published. Translator from Belarusian, Czech, French, Russian and Polish (works of Janusz Korczak and Janusz Głowacki). Winner of the Helen Szczerban-Lipka Prize (USA), scholarship holder of the Fulbright Foundation (USA), Schloss Solitude Academy (Germany), Kultur-Kontakt Foundation (Austria) and the Gaude Polonia programme of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland. Finalist of the Angelus Central European Literary Award (2014).

June 28
17:00 – 18:00 | Oleh Kotsarev: “Contents of a Man’s Pocket” (LEE project)
Participants: Oleh Kotsarev (online) – author, Aneta Kamińska – translator, moderator: Magda Kicińska, interpreter: Anna Jawdosiuk-Małek | Workshops of Culture in Lublin, Grodzka 5a – auditorium, 2nd floor
What lies at the bottom of Oleh Kotsirev’s bottomless pocket? At first glance: “excise stamps / wine corks / leopard-print corsets / crumpled business cards / faded kisses from yesterday / withered under the sun / tickets to places with unknown names / scraps of other people’s books”. If we reach deeper and look more closely, we will also find touching memories, keen observations of everyday life, aphoristic sentences, linguistic games, surreal pictures – in short, the whole reality will be revealed to us as seen only by a child, transformed as only a poet can transform.

Oleh Kotsarev (born 1981 in Kharkiv) is a Ukrainian poet, prose writer, journalist, and translator. He lives in Bucha near Kyiv. His latest books are the poetry collections “Evacuation” (2022, with Polish translations by Aneta Kamińska), “Contents of a Man’s Pocket” (2021), and the novel “People in Nests” (2017). He is co-editor (with Yulia Stakhivska) of the anthology “Ukrainian Avant-garde Poetry (1910-1930)”. Author of many articles and essays, mainly devoted to literature and culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. Editor of the almanac of young literature “Znak”. One of the curators of the online magazine of translated poetry “Umbrella”.

June 28, 18:30–19:30 | Herkus Kunčius ” To betray, to renounce, to defame” (WE series)
Participants: Herkus Kunčius – author, Zuzanna Mrozikowa – translator, moderated by Iwona Reichardt | Workshops of Culture in Lublin, Grodzka 7 – patio
Published in Lithuania in 2007, Herkus Kunčius’s collection of texts tells the stories of blinded individuals who, out of ideological loyalty or sheer foolishness, commit terrible acts. An Estonian soldier bravely fulfilling his internationalist duty during the Prague Spring. A prosecutor fighting against the corruption of contemporary artists. Lithuanian partisans reminiscing with a tear in their eye about rape and cruelty. Domestic violence and world violence merge here into a horrific, terrifying mix.

Herkus Kunčius (born 1965 in Vilnius) – prose writer, essayist, playwright, and author of radio plays. Winner of numerous literary awards. Graduate of the Vilnius Academy of Arts. He has worked as an editor and art critic for the cultural magazines “Krantas” and “Literatūra ir menas.” Author of about twenty volumes of prose translated into English, Danish, German, Russian, Slovenian, and Swedish. His texts have been featured in Polish magazines such as “Literatura na świecie,” “Tekstualia,” and “Korespondencja z ojcem.” Known to Polish readers through books such as “My Bambino Struggle” (2001), “Lithuanian in Vilnius” (2014), “Lithuanian Pictures” (2019) published by the Workshops of Culture, and “Stalin’s Iron Glove” (2023).

June 29
14:00 – 15:00 | Piret Raud: “Najprzyjemniejsza chwila dnia” (WE series)
Participants: Piret Raud – Author, Marta Perlikiewicz – Translator, Agnieszka Smarzewska – Moderator | Workshops of Culture in Lublin, Grodzka 7 – patio
Piret Raud’s collection of short stories can be classified as magical realism. Estonian critics have rightly called them a valley of horror, as fantasy and reality intertwine here, and the seeming absurdity reveals a second layer. In most of the stories, we deal with the conflict between individuality and collectivity, and the inability to reconcile these oppositions adds a fatalistic tone to the stories. “I hope that the world created by Piret Raud will also fascinate Polish readers. The novellas are contemporary, but rooted in Estonian culture and tradition, realistic and unreal at the same time, real frikas – like the eclairs that the narrator of the title story enjoys. Enjoy!” – Marta Perlikiewicz (from the Afterword).

Piret Raud (born 1971 in Tallinn) is an Estonian writer and illustrator. In 1995 she graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts with a degree in graphic design and initially pursued this path. However, her true passion turned out to be literature. After her literary debut, Raud quickly became the most famous and most translated children’s book author in Estonia. She collaborates with both Estonian and foreign publishers, including Thames & Hudson in the UK and Éditions du Rouergue in France. Since 2018, Raud has broadened her literary horizons and started writing primarily for an older audience. As an author and illustrator, she has won critical acclaim and numerous awards, and her books have been included in the White Ravens catalog and the IBBY Honor List. In 2022, she received the prestigious Estonian Cultural Endowment Literary Award for her collection of short stories “Nimepanija”. Five of her books have been published in Poland in translations by Anna Michalczuk-Podlecki.

June 29, 15.30–16.30 | 5:30 – 16:30 | Mykola Yabchenko, Ivan Kypybida, Juliya Wus: “A Brief History of Ukrainian Feminism” (LEE project)
Participants: Juliya Wus – Graphic novelist; Andrij Saweneć – Translator; Illia Strongovsky – Concept; Liliya Omelianenko – Comic book publisher in Ukraine; Moderator: Agnieszka Lichnerowicz; Interpreter: Anna Jawdosiuk-Małek | Workshops of Culture in Lublin, ul. Grodzka 7 – patio

What can we say about feminism off the top of our heads? We remember the suffragettes, Simone de Beauvoir and The Second Sex, we know about the first, second and even third wave of feminism, but the question of what contribution Ukrainians have made to the development of feminism can put anyone against the wall. One may wonder: why do we need such knowledge? In a situation where the idea of gender equality is still a beautiful dream, and the topic of the fight for women’s rights and equal rights is marginalized and reduced to the level of not always funny memes, reading “A Brief History of Ukrainian Feminism” shows how lightly and with distance, but also quite seriously, we can talk about this “ism” that still evokes extreme reactions.

Mykola Yabchenko – Digital literacy specialist at UNDP in Ukraine. Graduate of the Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk National University in international information. He has cooperated with various international organizations and Ukrainian civil society organizations, including the Ukrainian Women’s Fund. He is a profeminist, communication and gender equality expert, promoter of feminism and responsible fatherhood.

Ivan Kypybida – Illustrator, comic book artist and book designer from Ukraine. Currently lives and works in Lviv. He deals with commercial illustration, book illustration and cover design, comics, editorial illustration, poster design and animation.

Juliya Wus – Illustrator and comic book artist from Ukraine, currently lives and works in Lviv. Her areas of specialization include: comics, commercial and advertising illustration, book illustration and design.

June 29, 18:30-19:30 | Kateryna Dysa: “Historia z wiedźmami. Procesy o czary w ukraińskich województwach Rzeczpospolitej XVII i XVIII wieku” / “A History with Witches. Witch Trials in the Ukrainian Provinces of the Commonwealth in the 17th and 18th Centuries” (WE series)
Participants: Katarzyna Kotyńska – Translator; Anna Łazar – Translator; Moderators: Monika Rudaś-Grodzka and Mariana Kril | Workshops of Culture in Lublin, ul. Grodzka 7 – patio
Kateryna Dysa’s book is a groundbreaking study of witchcraft trials in the former Ukrainian voivodeships of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The author proposes new contexts and questions for sources that have long been the subject of research, such as the 1877 book “Czary. Dokumenty – procesy” (Witchcraft. Documents – Trials) by Ukrainian archaeologist and ethnographer Volodymyr Antonovych. She also reaches for documents that no one has studied before, such as “The Black Book of Krzemieniec 1747-1777”. In total, she analyzes 198 cases of witchcraft trials, mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries. In the book, she also deals with the scientific discourse on the subject of witchcraft, referring to contemporary debates. She also convincingly proves that on Ukrainian lands, witchcraft trials gained momentum primarily when representatives of power felt threatened and wanted to use the court as a way to silence the disobedient.

Kateryna Dysa (born 1977 in Moscow) is a historian, lecturer at the Department of History of the National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”, director of the Jerzy Giedroyć Centre for Polish and European Studies operating at this university. She was a fellow at Harvard University, Stanford University and the Institut d’études avancées in Paris, as well as a visiting professor at the University of Basel. She is currently conducting research at the Department of History at All Souls College, Oxford University, on a British Academy scholarship. She is the author of the book “Ukrainian Witchcraft Trials: Volhynia, Podolia and Ruthenia, 17th-18th Centuries” (Budapest, New York, 2020) and the author of numerous articles on the history of witchcraft, sexuality and medicine in early modern Ukraine. She is currently working on a project on the construction of the image of Kyiv in travel literature from the 18th to the early 20th century.

June 30

11:00- 12:00 | Boris Filonenko, Anton Reznik, Danyl Shtangeev “In mint” (LEE project)
Participants: Boris Filonenko – Author of the text (online), Anton Reznik, Danyl Shtangeev – Graphic artists (online), Aleksandra Zinczuk – Translator, Moderators: Grzegorz Nowicki and Olga Maciupa; Interpreter: Volodymyr Dyshleviuk | Workshops of Culture, Grodzka 5a – auditorium, 2nd floor

Intrigue starts with the title itself. The book’s title hints at its ambiguity and layered meaning. Vanya and Marychka live together to their own rhythm, until one day Vanya disappears in unusual circumstances… This story, told from two distinct perspectives, delves into love, routine, communication, and the weariness of overused storytelling techniques. Prepare to be engaged: the text is peppered with cultural references, akin to unmarked cracks and holes lurking within the cityscape, demanding your full attention to navigate.

Boris Filonenko – Born in 1991, lives and works in Kyiv, Lviv and Kharkiv. Writer, curator, art critic and editor-in-chief of IST Publishing (Kharkiv-Kyiv-Khmelnytskyi). He was co-curator of the Ukrainian Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022) and 18th Venice Architecture Biennale (2023) and the Second National Biennale of Young Art in Kharkiv (2019). In 2015-2018 he was curator of the Come in Art gallery and the Aza Nizi Maza gallery in Kharkiv. In 2017-2024 lecturer and curator of the Humanities Department at the Kharkiv School of Architecture.

Danyl Shtangeev – Illustrator, comic book artist and graphic artist from Kharkiv. His stories and illustrations have been published in the comic book anthology “GON, Strapazin & Wooby.Club”. Since 2016 he has been the art director of the Colotune production studio.

Anton Reznik – Artist, graphic artist, comic book author and animator from Kharkiv. In 2016-2022 he worked in the Aza Nizi Maza art studio (Kharkiv, Ukraine). Author and co-author of competitive and highly regarded art and comic book projects. Proficient in various printing techniques.

June, 30, 12:30–13:30 | Julija Cimafiejeva “Autoportret w postaci pestki awokado” / “Self-Portrait as an Avocado Pit” (WE series)
Participants: Julija Cimafiejeva – author, Bohdan Zadura – translator, moderated by Monika Ostrowska, interpreter: Irina Lappo | Workshops of Culture in Lublin, ul. Grodzka 7 – patio
This book is a poetic self-portrait of the author, who lives in exile, wandering through various European cities. The protagonist engages in conversations with the living and the dead, with relatives and strangers, with plants and animals, with streets and cities. Most importantly, she converses with herself – a girl from a Polesia village familiar with the poison and sweetness of wolfberries, born during times of change. As a student, she discovers the world in an oppressed country. Eventually, as an adult woman, she chooses poetry as a way to communicate with the world, with her voice now resonating in various languages. This voice is full of fear, sometimes sad, sometimes contemplative, but always clear, inquisitive, and audible. “It is I” – quietly but surely, says the pit of an exotic fruit from this rich image full of colors and nuances, affirming life and its endless, triumphant diversity. – Alhierd Bacharevič

“A necessary and devastatingly beautiful read” – Pierce Alquist

“Images of wordlessness, thwarted regeneration, and ecological catastrophe—give the book its depth, and announce Julia Cimafiejeva as a poet that readers will want to follow in the future.”– Jessica Johnson

Julia Cimafiejeva (born 1982 near Brahin) – Belarusian writer and translator. She is the author of four poetry collections in Belarusian and the documentary book “Minsk Diary” written in English. Her work has been translated into many languages and published in various projects, anthologies, and magazines, including “Poetry International” (USA), “Literatūra ir menas” (Lithuania), and “Financial Times” (UK). Her poetry collection “Cyrk I inne wiersze”/ “Circus and Other Poems” was published in 2018 by Workshops of Culture in Lublin, translated by Bohdan Zadura. She has been a resident at the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators (2013, 2017) and the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin (2018). Since late 2020, she has been living in exile with her husband, writer Alhierd Bacharevič.

Wschodni Express (WE)
One of the major obstacles in developing intercultural cooperation and overcoming stereotypes about the cultures of Central and Eastern European countries is the language barrier. While it may not be a significant issue in other fields of cultural practice (music, visual arts), it can hinder reception of literature and broadly defined exchange of ideas. In this context, it is vital to ensure a good flow of the current thought, writing and literature translated into national languages. This role is fulfilled by Wschodni Express– a series of meetings, debates, and book launches introducing the latest prose and poetry from Eastern Partnership countries to the Polish market. For eleven years, it has had its annual inauguration during the East of Culture Festival – Different Sounds.

The “Literary Eastern Express” (LEE) project, funded by the European Union’s “Creative Europe” programme, aims to promote Eastern European literature, culture, and art by publishing high-quality print, e-book, and audiobook formats of contemporary Ukrainian literary works. The initiative seeks to introduce Polish readers to previously unknown Ukrainian authors, fostering cultural and linguistic diversity, and providing Ukrainian refugees with access to exceptional literature. Between 2024 and 2026, the LEE project will translate 16 works from Ukrainian into Polish.

The Literary Eastern Express project aligns with Lublin’s pursuit of the title of European Capital of Culture 2029.