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UCL FESTIVAL OF CULTURE: ‘Swallowing Mercury’ – Women and Love under Communism

June 5, 2017 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm

| Free

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‘Was the communist Poland just a grey space with a limited freedom and a shortage of toilet paper? Or is it time to reconsider and re-narrate these stereotypes? How has the new democracy changed men’s and women’s experience of living in Poland? Have the country’s new freedoms also liberated the ways in which gender, love and the body are described? This is a rare and timely opportunity to (re)discover contemporary Polish literature.

Published to critical acclaim in early 2017 and longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, Wioletta Greg’s Swallowing Mercury is an extraordinary coming-of-age novel which reveals the secrets and superstitions of a quiet village in communist Poland.

Hear the author read excerpts from her book, and join a discussion of its themes, including women, love and writing about sex in Polish contemporary literature. We will also consider the canon of women’s writing in Poland, tracing back to the 19th century. Scholar and translator Dr Ursula Phillips will join us to tackle the notion of literary archaeology of lesbian writing in Poland.

This event is chaired by Dr Urszula Chowaniec, Senior Teaching Fellow in Polish Language at UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies. It is one of a series of seminars relating to Gender/Queer and Art/Lit/Film in the Other Europe, a research project based at UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies.


Visitors are encouraged to register at the Festival hub, which is located at the Gower Street entrance to the Wilkins Building main quad. We will be escorting attendees to event locations approximately fifteen minutes before each session begins.’ 

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June 5, 2017
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Waterstones Gower St.
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