Belarusian literature



The contemporary Belarusian literature finds itself in a situation of a strong competition with the volumes of book production in Russia and translations of the world literature. The term “national literature” in Belarus today is specific for its literary works, developing in the context of a formal bilingualism, which, in practice, represents the predominance of Russian language. As far as the genre structure is concerned, Belarus is not an exception in the world trends, aiming towards “light” genres (detective novels of all kind, fantasy novels, etc.). From the point of view of topics, in the “high quality” literature, prevailing topics usually are: World War II, Chernobyl, the Belarusian countryside, also with new motives appearing: general facts on ongoing processes and the current life in Belarusian cities. Besides that, experimentation in style and form is present.

What is significant for the contemporary Belarusian literature is the co-existence of two forms of literary works: “official” and “alternative”. The first of the two is basically represented by members of The Association of Writers of Belarus led by Mikalai Charhinets. The second – The Association of Belarusian Writers. The poet and prose writer, Uladzimir Niakliaeu is considered the main opponent. However, the contemporary literature is rather a literature of “individualists”, out of whom each creates their own art world and that is why hardly any institutional affiliation influences the creative work of real artists.

Alhierd Bakharevich / Альгерд Бахарэвіч (1975)

  • Belarusian writer and translator.
  • The fact that Alhierd Bakharevich has been trusted to be a jury member of the prestigious Gedroyc Literary Award four times proves him authoritative and popular among the readers, critics and fellow authors.

Dogs of Europe, 2017, in Belarusian

  • anti-utopia about Belarus and Europe 50 years from now, which has already won itself the reputation of the most attractive anti-bestseller.
  • One of the slogans of the book intriguingly claims: “You will never read this book” (the volume of the book – it is more than 900 pages long – and frequent passages in the constructed language Balbuta would intimidate a hesitating reader).
  • Yet, somehow, already a few months after the release of the book it feels that it has caused the greatest resonance among the readers this year.
  • Maksim Zhbankou, an authoritative critic, describes the book as a platform where “no one cares for the purity of genre like in a frivolous jam club”. He claims the book encompasses a thriller, a Bildungsroman, magic realism, a dark Euro-noir, sarcastic story about domestic educational process, and the pleasures of “game of pearls, criticism of national romantics and backyard memoirs, travel journal and intellectual crosswords. He spots a wide range of cultural references in his ambiguous yet attentive review of the novel
  • The dominating motif of the book, according to Jan Maksimiuk, is the notorious Belarusian homelessness, feeling of non-belonging anywhere and everywhere.

Here you can find an extract from the book in Belarusian:брысь-мова-брысь-урывак-з-новага-рама/