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On Our Way Home from the Revolution: Book Launch
January 22, 2020 @ EST 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Free and open to the public
Sonya Bilocerkowycz is the author of On Our Way Home from the Revolution, selected by David Lazar and Patrick Madden as winner of the 2018 Gournay Prize. Her debut book was also named a “Most Anticipated Essay Collection” for Fall 2019 by Literary Hub. Sonya’s essays and poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Guernica, The Southampton Review, Ninth Letter, Image, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere. Before completing her MFA at Ohio State, she served as a Fulbright Fellow in Belarus, an educational recruiter in the Republic of Georgia, and an instructor at Ukrainian Catholic University. She currently teaches Creative Writing at SUNY Geneseo and is Managing Editor for Speculative Nonfiction.
In 2014 Sonya Bilocerkowycz was a tourist at a deadly revolution. At first she is enamored with the Ukrainians’ idealism, but when the romantic revolution melts into a war with Russia, she becomes disillusioned, and returned home to the US and the diaspora community that raised her. As the granddaughter of war refugees, and the great-granddaughter of a gulag victim, Bilocerkowycz has inherited a legacy of political oppression. But what does it mean when she discovers a missing page from her family’s survival story—one that raises questions about her own guilt?
In these linked essays, Bilocerkowycz invites readers to meet a swirling cast of post-Soviet characters, including a Russian intelligence officer who finds Osama bin Laden a few weeks after 9/11; a Ukrainian poet whose nose gets broken by Russian separatists; and a long-lost relative who drives a bus into the heart of Chernobyl. On Our Way Home from the Revolution muddles our easy distinctions between innocence and complicity, agency and fate.
“A fierce, lyrical book that achieves a rare balance between the burden and beauty of heritage. A powerfully American book even as it travels to post–Cold War Ukraine. The best use of memoir is not a how-I-got-to-be-me story, but a book like this—a courageous effort to pierce the secrets of a vexed political and cultural history.” —Patricia Hampl