Ukrainian novelist to speak in Taiwan about politics, literature

Taipei, One of Ukraine's most famous writers, Andrey Kurkov, will visit Taiwan next week at the invitation of a local publisher and will give a speech on politics and literature.

Kurkov will arrive in Taipei on April 23 via Hong Kong and will deliver his speech, titled "Politics and Literature in Soviet and Post-Soviet Times," in English at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei the next day.

The internationally acclaimed novelist was invited to Taiwan by Emily Publishing Co., which published the Chinese-language version of his bestseller "Death and the Penguin," a work of dark satire set in a chaotic society in Kiev.

"There have been few visits to Taiwan by major novelists over the past two years," said Emily Publishing Editor-in-Chief Chuang Ching-chun (???). "I hope Kurkov's visit will help broaden the international perspective of readers here."

Since "Death and the Penguin" was first published in 1996, it has been translated into 37 languages. One of Kurkov's other books, "Ukraine Diaries: Dispatches from Kiev review," was praised by the British daily the Guardian as "an invaluable guide" to the 2014 Ukraine revolution.

Despite the international recognition of Kurkov, 57, as a bestselling writer, the arrangement of his visit to Taiwan presented some challenges, according to Chuang.

She told CNA that because there was no Taiwan consular office in Ukraine, Kurkov would have had to go to Moscow to submit his visa application.

However, that was not a good option for Kurkov due to the hostilities between Russia and Ukraine and the fact that he has been critical in his writings of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chuang said, citing an email she received from the novelist.

Chuang said she appealed to Taiwan's Ministry of Culture for help, and Kurkov was eventually issued an electronic visa-on-arrival by the foreign ministry.

Before Kurkov's first visit to Taiwan, he will attend an international literary festival in Hong Kong on Wednesday, she said.

On arrival in Taiwan April 23 for a four-day visit, Kurkov would like to see the high-tech and modernized aspects of the country and also explore its blend of modern and traditional cultures, according to Chuang.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel