On April 18th, 2023, long serving CWLC member Cecilia K. gave an eloquent and engaging presentation on both Ukrainian-Canadian culture and on the works of Ukrainian author and journalist Andrey Kurkov. Cecilia is currently a Member-at-Large on the CWLC Executive and has been Social Chair and Vice-President in the past. She has previously presented on the authors Harper Lee, William Shakespeare, Diana Gabaldon and Miles Franklin.
Cecilia started her presentation with a reading about a childhood Christmas in her Ukrainian-Canadian household in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. The reading highlighted the Christmas traditions of sighting the first evening star and serving 12 meatless dishes. The story included the legend that animals could talk amongst themselves on Christmas Eve. The reading was a moving reminder of the link between this now embattled country and families across Canada.
Next, Cecilia discussed the life and works of Andrey Kurkov, who has become a leading advocate for Ukraine since the Russian invasion in 2022. Kurkov has been a prison warden, a cameraman, a screenplay writer, a journalist, and a write of fiction for adults and children. Since the invasion of Ukraine, Kurkov has dedicated himself to keeping the eyes of the world on the war.
Readings were given from Kurkov’s novels Death and the Penguin, Penguin Lost, and Grey Bees. These books mix culture and politics with humor and satire.
Cecilia quoted Kurkov: “As long as Ukrainian culture is alive, Ukraine is invincible”. Her presentation shows that Ukraine lives not just in the hearts of its people, but also in the traditions kept by people of Ukrainian descent wherever they call home, and in the others they touch.
Kurkov recently gave an interview to the CBC – link here.
Calgary is host to an annual Ukrainian Festival, which will be held June 3rd and 4th, 2023.
At the closing of the presentation, members kindly donated children’s books for refugee children who are learning English. This was our last member presentation on the theme “Authors of the 21st Century”. Our new theme was announced at our Annual General Meeting on April 20, 2023, which will be discussed in my next post.
Regular meetings start again in autumn 2023. Why don’t you join us? Click here for more information.