I wrote the English subtitles for a documentary film from Kyrgyzstan, Zhanyrtuu (Renewal) by the Kyrgyz filmmaker Victoria Arkhangelskaya. The 15-minute film is about Svetlana Domashova, a lady who cares for her adult daughter, Elena, who is mentally impaired. In some very emotional interviews, Svetlana tells of her struggles in coming to terms with – and fighting to understand – Elena’s condition. The documentary introduces the Zhanyrtuu Foundation in Bishkek, which Svetlana created to make a supportive community for other disabled people in Kyrgyzstan, and their families. … More Zhanyrtuu (Renewal) – subtitles for a Kyrgyz film
– And it’s me who is the most useful! – mooed the calf. I feed the humans. Everyone needs my milk!
– No, I am the most useful! – bleated the lamb. – Humans make all their clothes from my wool…
– Well, I am the most clean! And the humans love me for it. – the little goat interrupted. – And they say that goats’ milk is the best medicine!
– You mean the best medicine apart from horses’ milk! – snorted the foal. – How can you forget our fresh saumal and kumys?
– You’re both wrong! The best milk comes from camels. It’s called shubat! – said the little camel. … More Kind Askar – a translation of some fairy-tales by the Kazakh author Bayangali Alimzhanov
For the April 2022 issue of Visit Uzbekistan magazine I spoke with its editor, the writer and travel journalist Megan Eaves, about Uzbekistan’s wine and spirits culture, which I used to research as part of a job in the Central Asian alcohol industry. Our chat begins on page 29 of Visit Uzbekistan issue 32, which can be read and downloaded here. We talk about what makes Uzbek wine special, what plans the country’s vineyards have for the future, Uzbekistan’s spirits industry, and much more besides. … More The story of Uzbek wine – an interview with Visit Uzbekistan magazine
In February I translated a short story set at the end of the Second World War – Belchonok (Little Squirrel) by the Belarusian author Andrei Geraschenko. The story was written and published in Russian in 1992. Told through the death of a small Belarusian boy, killed during a Nazi raid on his village, it is an affecting and thoughtful piece of writing about one of the tragedies of war: that the soldiers who kill children are often fathers themselves. … More Little Squirrel by Andrei Geraschenko – a translation of a prescient anti-war story from Belarus
My first published translation from Ukrainian is for Chytomo, a literature and culture website run by a team of creatives in Kyiv. It is an article by Ukrainian literary critic Vira Aheeva, about Russia’s bombing of the ‘Slovo’ writers’ house in Kharkiv, and how it echoes the damage done to the building by Stalin’s NKVD in the 1930s. The article begins:
“During the mass bombing of Kharkiv, a city of over a million people close to the border with Russia, the ‘Slovo’ writers’ house was badly damaged. The house is a significant building in Kharkiv, associated with the renaissance of the Ukrainian arts scene in the 1920s.” … More Ukrainian translation: Russia’s destruction of the Slovo writers’ house in Kharkiv – Chytomo
The Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2022 includes a piece that I wrote for its Cricket Round The World section. It is about the history of cricket in the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan – from the shepherds in the 1960s who played the game on their jailoos (summer pastures), to the Tajik throwing-and-hitting game chilikdangal, played with sticks in the mountainous Wakhan Corridor, to a new six-team T20 tournament in the capital Dushanbe. Tajikistan became the 106th member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2021, and has some ambitious plans for the future, in partnership with its cricketing neighbours in Afghanistan. … More Cricket in Tajikistan: Some writing in the 2022 Wisden Almanack