Katja Petrowskaja: A Family Story Between Memory and...


Katja Petrowskaja: A Family Story Between Memory and Forgetting

In conversation with Sasha Senderovich (Slavic, Jewish Studies)

When: Monday, October 7, 6:00 – 7:30 PM

Campus Location: CMU 120



Writer Katja Petrowskaja wanted to create a kind of family tree to chart her relatives who had scattered across multiple countries and continents, living through (and in some cases dying in) the 20th century’s many calamities, including Stalinism and the Holocaust. But how do you talk about what you can’t know, and how do you bring the past to life?  In this conversation with Sasha Senderovich (Assistant Professor, UW Slavic and Jewish Studies), Petrowskaja will reflect on a fragmented and traumatized century, while sharing stories of her travels to Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Poland, and the United States and bringing to light family figures who otherwise may have drifted into obscurity. Maybe Esther is a poignant, haunting investigation of the effects of history on one family as well as a deeply affecting exploration of memory.

Katja Petrowskaja was born in 1970 in Kiev, Ukraine, studied literature at the University of Tartu in Estonia, and was awarded fellowships to study at Columbia University and Stanford University. She received her doctorate in Moscow. Since 1999, she has lived and worked as a journalist in Berlin. Maybe Esther (English translation in 2018 by Shelley Frisch), her first book, was awarded the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 2013 in Germany, and was shortlisted for the 2019 Pushkin House Prize in the U.K.



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