Zhanyrtuu (Renewal) – subtitles for a Kyrgyz film

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

Kind Askar – a translation of some fairy-tales by the Kazakh author Bayangali Alimzhanov

– 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

Little Squirrel by Andrei Geraschenko – a translation of a prescient anti-war story from Belarus

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

Cricket in Tajikistan: Some writing in the 2022 Wisden Almanack

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

Letter from Ulan-Ude (Buryatia, Siberia)

“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)

Lower-league football in Bulgaria: Tundzha Yambol vs. Chernomorets Burgas

On a hot October Saturday, as a scrum of players lunged for the ball bouncing head-high in the midfield, a match in Bulgaria’s Third League – a 71-team competition divided into four regional groups – played out in the universal rhythm of amateur football: frenetic and slow at the same time.

On some rusty blue benches between the changing rooms and the stadium’s running track, 40 spectators chatted and nibbled pumpkin seeds, half-watching their friends and relatives exhausting themselves on the pitch.

In an early-evening, early-autumn kick-off at Nikolai Laskov Stadium in the town of Yambol, the game between Tundzha Yambol and Chernomorets Burgas – mid-table rivals in the south-east group of the Treta Liga – ended in a 3-0 win for Chernomorets. The visitors were by far the better team, and scored through an own goal before half-time, then impressive goals by Martin Dimitrov and Milen Tanev in the second half. … More Lower-league football in Bulgaria: Tundzha Yambol vs. Chernomorets Burgas