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Death in Translation: Ways of Dying in Contemporary Russia

Prof Muireann Maguire with Elina Alter, Oksana Vasyakina and Sergei Mokhov

Death in Translation: Ways of Dying in Contemporary Russia

Event details


In this online session, poet Oksana Vasyakina talks about her new memoir Rana (Wound) with her English translator, Elina Alter. Wound is a deeply affecting story of Oksana’s journey across contemporary Russia carrying her mother’s ashes; it also describes her childhood, her difficult relationship with her family, and her gradual acceptance of her own sexuality. Oksana and Elina are in conversation with scholar Dr Sergei Mokhov, an expert on contemporary funereal practice and hospice culture in Russia. Professor Muireann Maguire (Russian) will chair.

Elina Alter is a writer and translator based in New York. Her translations of Wound by Oksana Vasyakina and It's the End of the World, My Love by Alla Gorbunova are forthcoming. She is the editor of Circumference, an online journal of translation and literature.

Sergei Mokhov, PhD, a cultural and historical anthropologist, is a postdoctoral research fellow at Liverpool John Moores University and research fellow in Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Science. His research interests include different historical and cultural aspects of death and dying: the funeral industry, cemeteries, ageing, the hospice movement and palliative care, cancer culture. Dr Mokhov is the author of The Birth and Death of the Funeral Industry: From Medieval Graveyards to Digital Immortality (in Russian; Common Place, 2018), which won the Alexander Piatigorsky Literary Prize (VI season, 2018– 2019). Sergei is also the author of A Brief History of Death (in Russian; Individuum, 2020), finalist of the 'Prosvetitel' Literary Prize 2021, an edited version of which recently appeared from Routledge.

Oksana Vasyakina is a poet and writer, born in 1989 in Ust-Ilimsk (near Irkutsk, Siberia). She graduated from the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute. She has won several literary prizes in Russia. Her book Wind of Fury was published by the АСТ, largest book house in Russia. In 2021 publishing house New Literary Review published her debut novel The Wound. Oksana’s second novel Steppe is being prepared for publication. Oksana’s poems have been translated into Italian, English and Spanish. Oksana lives and works in Moscow.