Victoria Belim is a writer, journalist, and translator of Persian literature and poetry. She speaks eighteen languages, including Japanese, Turkish, and Indonesian. Her memoir, The Rooster House, was published earlier this year by Virago and explores her search for the truth behind an unmentioned family secret – and the Ukrainian people’s complex relationship with their Soviet history.
In this episode, Victoria and Lucy Scholes unpick Victoria’s fascination with learning languages; the rich tradition of Ukrainian poetry and the frustrations and excitement of translating it; our obsession with the little details of how other people live; and the continued relevance of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.
On the nightstand – books that are currently on your bedside table
My Soul is a Woman by Annemarie Schimmel
Food Artisans of Japan by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
On your mind – a recent article, podcast, film, series or song
Dakhabrakha’s song Carpathian Rap, whenever I hear it, it stays with me.
On the shelf – one book that made you think about feminism in a new way
A Room of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf. I read it as a teenager and I still remember how it affected me. It still does.
On the pedestal – tell us about one person (woman or non-binary) you admire
Nadia Vakulenko, an embroidery artisan I wrote about in my book. She’s formidable when she sets a goal—a UNESCO recognition for her art—and utterly dedicated to her teaching.
Special 50th Anniversary question – what one Virago book would you pass on? (Your Golden Apple).
Tune in next time for more conversation about books, feminism and culture.
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