Book Talk. Black Square: Adventures in Post-Soviet Ukraine, by Sophie Pinkham

Monday, November 14, 2016
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 International Affairs Building)

Please join us for a talk with Sophie Pinkham (MARS-REERS '12) about her new book, Black Square: Adventures in Post-Soviet Ukraine (Norton, 2016).

This event is part of the Harriman at 70 Lecture Series.

From W. W. Norton & Co:

A distinctive writer’s fascinating journey into the heart of a troubled region.

Ukraine has rebuilt itself over and over again in the last century, plagued by the same conflicts: corruption, poverty, substance abuse, ethnic clashes, and Russian aggression. Sophie Pinkham saw all this and more in the course of ten years working, traveling, and reporting in Ukraine and Russia, over a period that included the Maidan revolution of 2013–14, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and the ensuing war in eastern Ukraine.

With a keen eye for the dark absurdities of post-Soviet society, Pinkham presents a dynamic account of contemporary Ukrainian life. She meets—among others—a charismatic doctor helping to smooth the transition to democracy even as he struggles with his own drug addiction, a Bolano-esque art gallerist prone to public nudity, and a Russian Jewish clarinetist agitating for Ukrainian liberation. These fascinating personalities, rendered in a bold, original style, deliver an indelible impression of a country on the brink.

Black Square is necessary reading for anyone who wishes to learn not only the political roots of the current conflict in Ukraine but also the personal stories of the people who live it every day.

Sophie Pinkham has written about Russian and Ukrainian culture and politics for The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and other publications. From 2005-2011 she worked in international public health, focusing on HIV and drug policy in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. She holds an MA from the Harriman Institute and is currently completing a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Columbia. 
Listen to Pinkham discuss the book on WNYC's The Takeaway with John Hockenberry.
Read an excerpt of the book in n+1.