books and culture contribute to solidarity with Ukraine

Yellow and blue adorn the tables of the booksellers, under the marquee of the Le Livre festival in Metz: which is perhaps just a coincidence, in any case it echoes the large Ukrainian flag unfurled on the bookstore stand. Worldwide (44, rue de la Chevre in Metz).

Galyna Dranenko, a Ukrainian professor-researcher, author of a thesis on 20th-century French literature, professor at the Department of Romance Studies and Translation, which she also directs, at the Chernivtsi National University, in western Ukraine, near the Romanian border.

The first day of the war “, she explains, ” I arrived in France. Chernivtsi, fortunately, has not yet been bombed, although air alerts sound several times a day. » « For now “, adds worried.

The city is now home to a large number of refugees, who fled from eastern Ukraine, burned and bloodied by the Russian invasion. ” A large number of refugees, equivalent to at least 20% of the city’s population, joined Chernivtsi. My apartment is home to my family from kyiv and eastern Ukraine, with friends, people we don’t know, who are also staying with our neighbors. says Galyna Dranenko, highlighting the strong solidarity between the east and west of the country.

In his misfortune, he found support thanks to contacts established over several years with the University of Lorraine and a Ukrainian university support network, Échanges Lorraine Ukraine (ELU). Created in 2004 and chaired by Violeta Moskalu, this association has become in recent weeks an organization that manages the logistics of humanitarian convoys, the reception of refugees and the collection of donations. Symbol of this proximity between Ukraine and Lorraine, the municipal council of the city of Messina voted for a twinning motion between Chernivtsi and Metz.

Help with the books

Arriving in France after a journey alternating routes by car or on foot, Galyna Dranenko immediately returned to her country and its inhabitants, and in particular to Valeriia Kovalenko, one of her former students who remained in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. Famed this Friday, April 8, for a deadly Russian attack targeting her station, the city is on the front line of bombing.

I forced her to leave, because the shelling continued and the building in front of her house was completely destroyed. “, emphasizes Galyna Dranenko. ” I made the decision to go to France. after a call from her teacher, she recognizes Valeriia Kovalenko, whose parents have moved to the capital, kyiv. She is now a refugee, taken in by Anne-Marie Carlier, director of the bookstore. Worldwide. ” I did not hesitate long before welcoming him, since he had a room at home. I think she found her groove. “, confesses the latter.

The bookstore’s stand at the Le Livre festival in Metz is attended by Galyna Dranenko, Valeriia Kovalenko and also Valery, the third Ukrainian refugee, who also volunteers during the event. Visitors to the festival are introduced to Ukrainian literature, but not only, to help them better understand and understand current events.

Today [le 8 avril, NdR] publishes the book by Aharon Applefeld, an Israeli writer from Chernivtsi, who speaks in particular about the war in my country [La Stupeur, traduit par Valérie Zenatti, Éditions de l’Olivier] “, notes Galyn Dranenko. Andrei Kurkov, a French-speaking Ukrainian writer, has logically become a central figure of the author and, of course, his books are featured.

Valeriia Kovalenko also strives to make literature a mouthpiece for the Ukrainian resistance and the suffering of the population: it is also intended for literary translation.” to improve the presence of Ukrainian authors in France “. He is currently involved in the translation work of an anthology of contemporary Ukrainian poets, in French, English and German, in order to spread the poems and texts ” written right now, during the war, and posted on social media and YouTube, including “.

The bookstore Anne-Marie Carlier welcomes the strong mobilization of the cultural network in Metz, including in Lorraine. ” The Pasajes transfestival, with Arsenal, organized a great solidarity evening with Ukraine: I told Benoit Bradel, director of the event, that Galyna could intervene and pass poems… The actions multiply, everything comes together. »

The challenge remains, of course, to maintain this commitment over time if, unfortunately, the conflict stalls. Still under the marquee, the Secours populaire, which has space, sells books for the benefit of the Ukrainian population. ” The funds collected are not sent directly to Ukraine, but to associated associations in Poland or Moldova, because the latter know better the ways of life, of eating, for example, of the Ukrainians: they are closer to reality, to better meet the needs. », explain Raymond and Stéphane, volunteers for 6 and 5 years respectively.

The works, sold between 1 and 10 euros, also include some new books, in particular a dozen copies of the Rue du Monde editions, bought by the Le Préau bookstore and offered “ with an additional discount to the Secours Populaire. Another manifestation of solidarity in the work of the actors in the book.

Archive: The book in Metz 2022: journalism and literature, “not even afraid”?

Photograph: Valeriia Kovalenko and Galyna Dranenko at the Le Livre festival in Metz, April 8, 2022 (ActuaLitté, CC BY SA 2.0)

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