Lidija Dimkovska - "A Spare Life"- Angelina Ilieva

Lidija Dimkovska discusses A Spare Life. She will be joined in conversation by Angelina Ilieva.

Co-sponsored by CEERES

At the Co-op

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About the book: Zlata and Srebra are 12-year-old twins conjoined at the head. It is 1984 and they live in Skopje, which will one day be the capital of Macedonia but is currently a part of Yugoslavia. A Spare Life tells the story of their childhood, from their only friend Roze to their neighbor Bogdan, so poor that he one day must eat his pet rabbit. Treated as freaks and outcasts—even by their own family—the twins just want to be normal girls. But after an incident that almost destroys their bond as sisters, they fly to London, determined to be surgically separated. Will this be their liberation, or only more tightly ensnare them?

At once extraordinary and quotidian, A Spare Life is a chronicle of two girls who are among the first generation to come of age under democracy in Eastern Europe. Written in touching prose by an author who is also a master poet, it is a saga about families, sisterhood, immigration, and the occult influences that shape a life. Funny, poignant, dark, and sharply observed, Zlata and Srebra reveal an existence where even the simplest of actions is unlike any we’ve ever experienced.

About the author: Lidija Dimkovska is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2013 European Union Prize for Literature for A Spare Life. She is also the author of the poetry collection pH Neutral History (Copper Canyon Press, 2012), which was a finalist for the 2013 Best Translated Book Award, and Do Not Awaken Them With Hammers (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2006). She lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

About the interlocutor: Angelina Ilieva is a lecturer in South Slavic and Balkan Literatures at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago, where she teaches classes on literature, culture, and identities in South Eastern Europe. Her main focus is on the relations between narration and identities.

About the co-sponsor: The University of Chicago has been providing instruction in disciplines of the CEERES region continuously since 1903, when courses in Russian language and area studies were begun. The center now known as CEERES has been in existence since 1965, and it continues to coordinate instruction and facilitate research about Russia/Eurasia and Eastern/Central Europe, including the Baltic States, Balkans, Caucasus, and Central Asia. In addition to its robust language offerings, CEERES supports curricula which are particularly strong at present in Russian/Soviet history; Slavic, Balkan, and Baltic linguistics; nationalities studies of the former USSR; Slavic literatures (Russian, Polish, Czech); Russian and East European cultural anthropology; comparative literature; archaeology of the Caucasus; Russian and East European film and art history, and business administration. CEERES faculty have expertise also in political science, international relations, economics, sociology, and Central and East European, Byzantine, and Ottoman history.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637