Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

Graphic drawing of two women talking to one another at a table. Image links to event page.



Full Literary Toolkit: Visual Storytelling from Narrative Painting to Graphic Novel
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Please join the Barnard College Slavic Department and the Harriman Institute for an evening with Anya Ulinich.

Multidisciplinary artist Anya Ulinich will discuss the evolution of her practice and working on the border of fiction and autobiography. After training as a visual artist, Ulinich began to write, eventually publishing a literary novel, Petropolis. Her second book, Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel, The New York Times Notable book, was a graphic novel that blended fiction and autobiography.  A funny and dark book loosely based on Bernard Malamud’s short story “The Magic Barre,” it told a story of an immigrant’s search for her true self through app-based dating. In recent years, Ulinich further expanded her practice, returning to painting and incorporating in animation and sculpture while completing her second graphic novel, The Assimilationist. She will discuss a practice that responds to contemporary life using a variety of media, show her recent work, and talk about surviving as a multidisciplinary artist outside of academia.

Anya Ulinich is an American writer and a visual artist.  She was born in Moscow in 1973 and immigrated to Arizona at seventeen. She holds a BFA in visual arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in painting from the University of California, Davis.  Ulinich is the author of the critically acclaimed graphic novel, Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel (Penguin, 2014), which was named a notable book of the year by The New York Times Book Review. She received the 5 Under 35 award from the National Book Foundation for her debut novel, Petropolis (Viking 2007). Ulinich’s writing and illustrations have appeared in a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Forward. A 2023 MacDowell Fellow, she is currently working on her second graphic novel, “The Assimilationist.” You can see her work at and on Instagram @mindcaptive.