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
“The Rinpoche Bagsha temple crackled with the deep murmur of Buddhist prayer. Under the warm gaze of a golden cross-legged Buddha, eight monks in crimson robes sat at a low table in the centre of the room, ethereal chants bursting from their throats. A bell tinkled. During the final prayer the congregation, squeezed together on benches close to the monks, picked up parcels of food and waved them in front of themselves in clockwise circles. The bell tinkled one last time”. … More Letter from Ulan-Ude (Buryatia, Siberia)
“I bought everything on your list
Plus I got you your favourite fruits”.
I screw my face up, and then hiss
In a cold voice: “Did I ask you to?”
“So I take it that this picture of beauty
Got out of bed on the wrong side today?”
He asks, as he takes from behind his back a bouquet
Of flowers, presented with irony. … More ‘I think we should just live’ – a translation of some poems by Ekaterina Khlebnikova
The Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2021 includes a piece that I wrote for its ‘Cricket Round The World’ section, about how the game is becoming known in two far-flung corners of Russia.
Being a lifelong cricket fan, I’m thrilled that my article (on page 815) is in such exalted company. Following the Notes by the Editor Lawrence Booth, the 2021 Wisden features essays by Gideon Haigh, Matthew Engel, Ebony Rainsford-Brent and James Anderson. … More Cricket in Russia: Some writing in the 2021 Wisden Almanack
*** JC: This story ‘Wonder and reflection in the Russian Arctic’ was published in the December 2020 issue of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s magazine, The Geographer. The Royal Scottish Geographical Society is a fantastic organisation; learn more about the RSGS on its website, and read previous editions of The Geographer online here. *** I … More Wonder and reflection in the Russian Arctic
St. Petersburg is a gorgeous – and surprisingly boisterous – city full of mesmerising art, impressive history, and unforgettable hospitality. It is one of the world’s great cities. But a trip to Russia can still seem daunting. Luckily for travellers for whom the Winter Palace, Hermitage Museum and Mariinsky Theatre have felt out of reach, Europe’s fourth-largest city is becoming much more accessible. … More 2021 travel guide to St. Petersburg, Russia