First Crimean Tatar Anthology Released
Crimean Fig, dedicated to the Black Sea peninsula, features the stories, essays, and poetry of 33 authors.
The first Ukrainian Crimean Tatar anthology, “Crimean Fig,” was presented at the Book Arsenal Festival in Kyiv, which had a special section devoted to Crimea.
Some 205 writers submitted stories, essays, and poems for “Crimean Fig.” However, only 33 works made it to publication.
Book contributors were at the festival.
“We learn a lot about each other, in particular, by means of culture and literature. When we feel the language, and feel what is in our hearts, we can share it. And ‘Crimean Fig’ is an absolutely intellectual book, an intellectual collaboration of Ukrainians and Crimean-Tatars,” Crimean House Program Director Alim Aliyev said.
“Unfortunately, there is little literature about Crimea, but we should talk about it. I think that this fact that the Ukrainian culture didn’t merge into the culture of Crimea, in particular, led to the occupation of the peninsula. Because the Russian culture was very good at merging into the Crimean culture,” writer Anastasia Levkova said.
One of the book’s authors – Yeva Rayska – comes from Galicia. But she has always been interested in the history of Crimea and Crimean Tatar culture. The writer’s novella is dedicated to her Crimean Tatar friend.
“I worked for the Karitas military foundation when the annexation began. We had been hosting a lot of IDPs – not only Crimean Tatars, but also Ukrainians from the eastern part of the country. At that time, I became
acquainted with Crimean Tatars. I met a wonderful friend, with whom I spent three years in this amazing city. When he moved to another city, it was such a loss for me! This work is a sort of dedication to a person and a family that became important to me,” Rayska said.
The head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Refat Chubarov said that the task of Ukraine is to help talented Crimean writers who are now being repressed by the occupying Russian authorities.
“This tragedy, which came to our land once again, squeezes out individuals, talented people, those who have great potential. Our task is to notice these people in time and provide them with help,” Chubarov.
At the end of the presentation, the writers read out excerpts from their works.
“This is the same Crimea, just as before. And the steppe, through which you just drove, is in no way different from the Crimean steppe. And the wind, the force of which can be felt through the pressure on the windshield, is wandering through the spaces of Tauria and ignoring any checkpoints, military equipment, and borders,” one author read.
For the past several years, Crimea has been a major topic of discussion at the literary forum. One hundred fifty Ukrainian books have been collected for the children of Crimean political prisoners and sent to the peninsula.