FOUNDER & EDITOR
Robin Ashenden has been living and working in Central and Eastern Europe for the better part of 20 years, and writing about it - for publications like Sunday Times Travel, Wanderlust and The Guardian - for the better part of a decade. He has an MA in Travel Writing about the Soviet Union, and in 2009 was the recipient of a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Writers' Grant, to travel in and write about the post-communist countries of Central Europe. He founded CEEL in May 2014, and since then has published 500 articles on CEE topics, by over 50 contributors. In 2016 he was producer and compere at the first two CEEL events - Chornobyl 30 and Hungary 60, at London's Frontline Club. He is now a Phd student in Creative Writing at UEA, writing a six-part TV-drama about the USSR.
Julia Secklehner is an art historian specialising in Austrian, Czech and Slovak culture from the early twentieth century. She has studied Czech and Art History at the University of Glasgow and only recently submitted her PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She has been CEEL’s visual arts editor for the past 2 years and is especially interested in Central European art and magazine culture, and Czech New Wave cinema.
Agne Dovydaityte, from Lithuania, is a Journalism student at City University London. She began her career as a journalist at the regional Lithuanian newspaper Kedainiu garsas’ where she worked for three years, participating in many journalism conferences, as well as covering a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasburg. She now aims to make her way in the British media and actively to participate in Eastern European events in London.
Alan Hart is a lecturer at Queen Mary University of London. He has worked all over Asia and the Middle East, but for pleasure has travelled to almost all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, most recently Bulgaria. He lives in northern Hertfordshire. His hobbies include writing and walking.
Born to a Dutch father and a Russian mother, and raised in Haarlem, the Netherlands, Alexander is currently a Philosophy and Russian undergraduate student at the University of Bristol. His current interests are Ancient Philosophy, Russian film, modern Russian literature and Russian politics.
Alexandra de Stanford Wallitt is studying History at an undergraduate level at University College London. Her interests include politics, travel, art history and she also enjoys Scottish reeling. A hardcore Chekhov admirer, she hopes to visit his homeland in the coming year.
Born in Romania and raised in the U.S., Andreea Scridon studied Comparative Literature at King’s College London. She has written about Vladimir Nabokov, Vintilă Horia, C.P. Cavafy, and Romance languages, as well as on astronauts and flamingoes. She writes poetry and short fiction on a rolling basis, and occasional reviews of independent films.
Anett Gecov is a London-based art historian and manager, specializing in contemporary Central European art. She’s particularly interested in multidisciplinary approaches to art and the possibility of cross-overs between them. She studied in Hungary, and holds an MA in History of Art, Philosophy and Pedagogy.
Asterios Bobolis was born in Edessa, North Greece. He now lives in London.
Borimir is a postgraduate student of Russian and Post-Soviet Politics at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. His focus is on the visual culture of contemporary Russia and the power of art in bringing about change through visual activism. He has interest and experience in documentary cinema and film photography.
Caitlin Spence is a second year undergraduate student at the University of Nottingham reading History and Russian and East European Civilisations. Her particular interest is in Central and East European film and literature and how these artistic forums encapsulate the culture and history of the region they represent.
Camelia Ciobanu is an Art Historian, with an MA in Art History and Photography from Birbeck College, University of London. Her interests are Being, Observing and writing about either of them. She lives in London.
Colin is a visiting Senior Lecturer in the Philology and Sociology departments of the University of Miskolc, Hungary. He has lectured, in addition, at three other Hungarian universities, and does so still, on an annual basis, at Petru Maior University, in Transylvania, and at Krosno State College, in Sub-Carpathian Poland. He is the author of A Country Full of Aliens: a Briton in Hungary (2nd Edition, 2010), published by Corvina Books in Budapest.
Conrad was born in 1979 in Taunton, UK. He has a Masters in Social Anthropology from SOAS, and has spent several years studying Chinese Culture and language. Thereafter he worked on the script for Soul Carriage, a feature film based on the lives of immigrant workers in Shanghai (Best New Director Award, San Sebastian Film Festival 2007). Another script of his, about the intersecting lives within the Chinese Diaspora in Dubai, resulted in the 2012 feature A Fallible Girl, which after its premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2013 went on to win awards in Dubai and USA.
Cyrine studied film at the London College of Communications, and worked in script development at the UK Film Council. She is currently completing a PhD in Media & Communications at Goldsmiths where she works as Associate Lecturer.
David Rothenberg, musician and philosopher, records on ECM and teaches at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is the author of Why Birds Sing, Thousand Mile Song, Survival of the Beautiful, and his latest, Bug Music. He has twelve CDs out. He also worked on the films SONG OF THE CICADAS and SONG FROM THE FOREST. www.davidrothenberg.net
Denis Stolyarov was born in 1991 in Ivanteevka, Russia. In 2013 he received a degree in History from Moscow State University, and is currently a PhD candidate at the Courtauld Institute of Art.
Depo Olukotun is a Masters graduate of History of Art from the University of London, with a specific interest in the History and Theory of Photography. He has travelled widely in Eastern Europe and his interests include the Czech jazz tradition in Prague, the history of Hungarian photography, and the Russian artistic and architectural legacy throughout Moscow.
Eleanor Janega is a medieval historian specialising in Bohemia, and a lover of all things Czech. In between trips to the Czech Republic she lives and writes in London.
Esther Harper has travelled extensively in Russia, both recreationally and in charity volunteer capacities. Most recently, she worked as a volunteer interpreter at the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games. She is currently studying part-time for a Masters by Research about British perceptions of Russia through contemporary travel writing and has written pieces based on this for the online magazine Russianmind.com.
Eugenia Ellanskaya is a student and aspiring freelance culture journalist at University College London, with a background in social anthropology, cultural studies and archaeology. She grew up in the UK, Western Ukraine and Moscow, and has a special interest in Russia and Ukraine, particularly the field of Anglo-Russian intercultural communication.
Eva is currently doing a part-time MA in Russian Studies at UCL whilst working on projects in Russia for an organisation that focuses on the digitisation of cultural heritage.
Evgeniya Yarkova is currently studying for the MA at the Courtauld Institute in Central and Eastern Europe modern and contemporary art. She has a background in Journalism, which she previously studied at the Moscow State University. She is interested in the connection between art and politics, and is enjoying her student life in London.
George Szirtes is a poet and translator born in Hungary. He was awarded the T S Eliot Prize in 2004 and is one of the two prize-winning translators of the Man Booker International winner, László Krasznahorkai.
Guy Carpenter is a photographer based in Surrey, UK. In addition to taking lots of photographs of Surrey’s woodlands, he has taken photographs around Europe, as well as the middle and far east. His photographs have been in exhibitions and featured in national print media.
Ian comes from Sunderland but has lived in London for over forty years
and works as a teacher of English to overseas students.
He writes a column for the award-winning football website A Love
Supreme and conducts rock and roll tours of London. 'His London Rock and Roll Guidebook will
be available soon on Amazon Kindle'.
Jana is an art historian with a special focus on Gothic architecture in East-Central Europe. She completed her MA at the Courtauld Institute of Art and her PhD at Birkbeck, University of London. Her PhD thesis was entitled 'The Charles Bridge: Ceremony and Propaganda in Medieval Prague.'
Jekaterina Drozdovica is a first year Journalism student at City University, London. All her life she has lived between two countries - Russia and Latvia. She become interested in journalism at the age of 14 and began her path through the profession as a voluntary reporter on the school newspaper 'Alma Mater'. She continued her studies in the UK and, though she relishes living in London, reviewing Eastern European events makes her feel right at home. Her Twitter account can be found at @yecatherine_d
Jesse graduated from the University of Oxford with a degree in French and Polish before spending a year in Fukuoka, Japan, where he studied Japanese, taught English and wrote for a local magazine. He currently works freelance as a translator of anthropology, musicology and art criticism, and spends his spare time travelling and writing.
Jo studied history of art at Birkbeck, University of London and has an MA in History of Art and History & Theory of Photography. She is interested in the field of photography and visual culture. Jo lives and works in London.
Jonathan graduated from the University of Sheffield with a degree in Modern Languages (Russian, German and Czech). He has lived and traveled extensively in central and eastern Europe, and is currently studying for a Master's degree at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Judith studied French and Russian at Cambridge, before going to Samara, Russia where she volunteered with an international youth organisation for a year. She now works as a writer/researcher at a legal publishing house in London. She is an enthusiast for 20th and 21st century Russian film and literature, and a keen (if not gifted) amateur musician.
Whilst Juno's background's in Political and Social Sciences, she's always had a soft spot for the arts. An avid visitor of the theatre and the opera, Juno started writing her first blog about the performences she saw at the age of 15. Her interest in Eastern European history and culture was sparked when she was writing her thesis about EU cultural policies in the context of the integration of the Balkan states. During her later MA at King's College London, she continued to focus on Eastern Europe and its relationship with the rest of the continent. Juno has recently taken up Russian and is eager to explore more of Eastern European culture, customs and society as lived in London.
Kata Karath came from Hungary to study science journalism at City University London. Though her BA was in zoology, she enjoys multidisciplinary projects, especially when art meets science. She speaks four languages (Hungarian, English, Spanish, French) and specializes in delivering stories through multimedia including Video, Radio and Online. Apart from storytelling, her passions are hitchhiking around the world, reading poetry in foreign languages and experimental cooking.
Kieron Connolly is a writer and journalist. His book Dark History of Hollywood was published in English and Polish in 2014. A graduate in history from Edinburgh University and in film from the National Film & Television School, he has worked for the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Mail, and has interviewed film-makers for movieScope Magazine. He is also the author of four non-fiction books for children and works as a script editor for The Literary Consultancy. He lives in London.
Dr Lidia Merás teaches Film History at Royal Holloway (University of London). Among her various collaborations to film journals (Senses of Cinema, L’Atalante, New Cinemas, 24 Monthly), she serves as the member of the editorial staff of Secuencias, a peer-reviewed film journal published by Universidad Autonóma de Madrid. Her last contributions to academic journals are ‘New Formats, New Audiences: Metrópolis (TVE2, 1985-) as a Cultural TV Programme in Democratic Spain’ (Studies in Spanish and Latin-American Cinemas, 2014) and the book chapter 'The Torrente Tetralogy. A homegrown Saga' in (Re)viewing Creative, Critical and Commercial Practices in Contemporary Spanish Cinema edited by Duncan Wheeler and Fernando Canet (Intellect, in press).
Liza is an economist specialising in Russia and the CIS. She is currently studying an MA Global history course at Birkbeck and produces theatre plays in her free time.
Lucy Murphy is a classical pianist. Having begun her piano lessons at the age of 7, she is now in her third year at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Alongside her studies, Lucy has performed at various venues across the UK as well as taking part in festivals and competitions, winning 1st prize at Ealing festival. In addition to soloist performances, Lucy also works extensively as an accompanist and in ensembles incorporating many different genres.
Margaret Drummond was born in London to a Lithuanian father and a Dutch mother and studied French and German at university. Recently retired from teaching languages at a leading grammar school, she continues to be involved in teacher training and working in adult education with local community groups.
Mark Crossey has lived and worked in several Central and East European countries and has a particular interest and knowledge of Polish language and culture, having lived there for 12 years. He has a strong interest in film and has worked on film collaborations between the UK and Indonesia. He is currently British Council Director for Uzbekistan.
Mary Lussiana (formerly.Pininska) has been a freelance food and travel journalist for over 20 years, contributing to publications like Conde Nast Traveller, Harper's Bazaar, The Sunday Telegraph and Time Magazine. She is the author of several books on Poland and its cuisine: The Polish Kitchen (1989, Macmillan & 2000, Grub Street UK), A Little Polish Cookbook (1992, Appletree Press UK), and Poland's Gourmet Cuisine (1999, Hippocrene Books USA). She is married to the prize-winning chef Bernard Lussiana, and lives in Portugal, with her two youngest children.
Mike is a British writer. He is based in Transylvania, where he has lived for five hundred years. He is married to Angela Nicoara and they have three cats from Baku. Mike is the author of 'Child Witch London' (2014), 'Child Witch Kinshasa' (2013) , 'Spinner the Winner' (2012), 'Never Mind the Balkans, Here's Romania' (2008). Details of his books can be found at: http://mikeormsby.net/
Molly Flynn is a PhD candidate in Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge. Her research is on the history and significance of documentary theatre in twenty-first century Russia. In addition to her academic work, Molly is also a resident dramaturg for the international theatre laboratory NEDRAma in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Hungarian-born Monica Porter grew up mainly in New York before moving to London in her teens. Her father was the Hungarian journalist and writer Peter Halasz, and her mother was the nightclub singer Vali Racz
She writes for leading British newspapers including the Daily Mail, for which she has been writing the popular weekly column, Missing and Found, since 1999. She is the author of five books – The Paper Bridge: A Return to Budapest (1981 and 2009), Deadly Carousel: A Singer’s Story of the Second World War (1990 and 2006), Dreams and Doorways: Turning Points in the Early Lives of Famous People (1993 and 2014),Long Lost: The Story of the Newspaper Column That Started the Reunion Industry (2010) and Raven: My Year of Dating Dangerously(2014).
Hailing from Poland by way of New York, Natasha started out as a journalist before moving into writing and directing drama. Now based in London, she writes for theatre and film while teaching storytelling to people of all ages.
Nick Barlay is the author of four acclaimed novels and one book of non-fiction. He has written award-winning radio plays, contributed to short story anthologies, and his journalism has appeared in many publications. He was named as one of Granta’s 20 best young British novelists in 2003, until it was discovered he was too old to be young.
Barlay was born in London to Hungarian Jewish refugee parents. Scattered Ghosts, the story of his family over 200 years, is published in October 2013
Nicolae (Nick) Klepper was born in Romania and grew up in the United States. A retired sales and marketing executive who lived many years in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, he now devotes himself to writing.Nick’s books include: Taste of Romania, the result of his lifelong interest in cookery and his desire to make his native country better known to the world, and Romania:An Illustrated History, both published by Hippocrene Books, New York; The Geneva Affair, a psychological suspense novel; Letters From A Bygone World – A Travel Memoir, both published by Haret Books, Edinburgh. He resides with his wife, Ann, in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is a member of The Society of Authors. Contact: http://www.nicolaebooks.com
Nigel Roberts has travelled widely throughout Belarus since 2001, working on sustainable development projects with families and communities affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. He is also the author of the Bradt Travel Guide to Belarus, the third edition of which will be published in May 2015, and has contributed to a number of periodicals about his Belarus experiences, notably hidden europe magazine in Berlin.
Olenka Hamilton is half-Polish and half-Scottish, lives in London and enjoys writing, mostly about Poland. She has lived in Edinburgh where she studied Classics, Krakow where she taught English, and Brussels where she worked as an assistant to a Member of the European Parliament.
Born and raised in Cambridge, Oliver studied International History & Politics at the University of Leeds before gaining his MA in Military History at King's College London where he conducted research into the development of guerilla warfare, and is now a member of the South Atlantic Council which promotes constructive, strategic dialogue between all parties involved in the Falklands/Malvinas sovereignty dispute. He has a personal interest in the Czech Republic, especially it's 20th century history, it's beer, it's Medieval castles, it's broader culture, and it's literature; Milan Kundera in particular.
Patricia is currently an M.A. candidate studying with Professor Klara Kemp-Welch at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where her work focuses on “unofficial” art in Latin America and East-Central Europe between 1959-1989. She completed my BA in art history at Bard College in northern New York State in 2012.
Paula Erizanu is an Eastern European journalist and writer based in London. She writes about arts, culture and Eastern European politics. Her articles were published in The Guardian, Dazed, The Architectural Review, Wallpaper* and other publications. She authored a book on the 2009 Moldovan mass protests, “This is my first revolution. Steal It”, and a volume of poetry, titled “Take Care”, in 2015 in Romania. She did an MA in Magazine Journalism at City University, London.
Rachel Nicholson is currently studying for her M.A. in Central European Art and Culture (1918-1956) at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Before moving to London, she spent three years living in Rome and, during that time, traveled extensively through the Balkans. She is from Boston, Massachusetts and received her B.A. in Art History from Vassar College.
Roger Scruton is a freelance writer and philosopher, who rescued himself from the academy twenty years ago. He currently lives in rural Wiltshire, England. He has held posts in the American Enterprise Institute, and in the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He is married with two children. He is the author of 40 books, including five works of fiction , and has composed two operas. He is widely known on both sides of the Atlantic as a public intellectual with a broadly conservative vision.
Sam is originally from Wales and completed a degree in Film Studies at the University of Kent. After working in Italy, he moved back to the UK in 2010. He maintains a keen interest in cinema and language.
Scott Diel is an American writer. He lives in Tallinn, Estonia
Sofia Gurevich is a PhD candidate at the Courtauld Institute of Art and Tate Modern, researching how artists of various affliliations contributed to the interrelation of form and content in the early Soviet Book, and its multiple functions as a tool of enlightenment, an instrument of agitation and promoter of the Soviet regime abroad. Sofia is from Moscow and has lived in the UK since 2005: prior to returning to the Courtauld for her MA and PhD, she worked as cataloguer for a UK-based auction house specialising in Russian art.
Stephen was born and raised in Leeds, and is currently studying Russian and East European Civilizations at Nottingham University. He is keenly interested in cinema, for the cultural insight it gives into a country.
Teresa Wigglesworth-Baker has just completed her PhD in the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies at the University of Sheffield. Her research interests have focused on language policy and Russian-Titular bilingualism in post-Soviet Tatarstan. Other research interests include multilingual landscaping, identity, education and politics in the post-Soviet space. Teresa has worked with the Tatar government advising them on language policy and educational issues as well as representing the University of Sheffield at Tatar cultural events in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan during April-May 2013.
Tim Less spent a decade working as an analyst, diplomat and policymaker at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office where, among others things, he ran the British Embassy Office in Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and the EU Institutions Department, and served as the Political Secretary at the British Embassy in Skopje (Macedonia). He is also a former lecturer in East European Politics at the University of Kent and a former risk analyst for the ratings agency Dun and Bradstreet, where he covered the Balkans and the former Soviet Union. He is currently a member of the Faculty of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge.
Valenka Navea, from London, is currently undertaking post-graduate research in Art History. Her background is in the arts, film and theatre design. She is also a gigging blues/jazz musician and a social entrepreneur leading the Art For All and All For Art charity aimed at improving arts/cultural access for struggling state-school students in London.
Valeriya Stepanuyk is a Masters student at University College London. She is a representative of the post-Soviet generation with a Western education. She has a keen interest in history, art and politics.