From the Blue Horn Poets to the Red Century: Nino Haratischvili in conversation with Maya Jaggi.

Thursday 25 February – 18.00 – 19.10

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LAUNCH EVENT A double bill of talks marking the centenary of the Soviet annexation of Georgia on 25 February 1921 and the end of the first republic.

In association with The British Library in London

British-Georgian singer-songwriter Katie Melua opens the event with a special welcome song, sung in the Georgian language from lockdown in London.

With a welcome from the Director of the Writers’ House of Georgia, Natalia Lomouri and the Georgian Ambassador to the UK, Sophie Katsarava.

Meet the author of the internationally best-selling novel The Eighth Life (for Brilka).

Nino Haratischvili’s epic novel The Eighth Life (for Brilka) was originally written in German and won multiple awards including the Bertolt Brecht Prize and the 2020 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. Its acclaimed English translation by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin is now out in paperback.

The novel traces six generations of a family from Georgia – then a subjugated republic on the balcony of Europe and the fringes of the Russian and Soviet empires. Spanning the ‘red century’ that began in 1917, the saga moves from Tbilisi’s cafe society during the first republic of 1918-21 – home of the Blue Horn Symbolist poets – to St Petersburg, London and Berlin. The mainly women protagonists’ lives are vividly enmeshed with world events, from the October Revolution and siege of Leningrad to the Prague Spring and post-Soviet civil wars.

Characters range from Stalin’s notorious henchman Lavrenti Beria (both men were Georgian), Viennese-inspired master chocolatiers and aspiring dancers, to a White Guard turned red lieutenant and a dissident singer-songwriter exiled in Britain.

Hailed as a Georgian War and Peace or Tin Drum, The Eighth Life probes the historical silences left by Soviet propaganda, the trauma of totalitarianism and its aftermath, and the seductions of collaboration, in a country seemingly trapped in the repetitions of history.

The author speaks to award-winning cultural journalist and critic Maya Jaggi, Artistic Director of Georgia’s Fantastic Tavern.

In association with The British Library in London

This is an online event. Bookers will be sent a link in advance giving access and will be able to watch at any time for 48 hours after the start time.

Bookers will also receive a link to view Liberty’s Feast and Hangover: with Aka Morchiladze and Dato Turashvili

Please note: all timings are GMT

Tickets £5 (includes Liberty’s Feast and Hangover with Aka Morchiladze and Dato Turashvili).