On September 10, the Literary trolleybus (tram) passed through Ulyanovsk, a fellow UNESCO City of Literature.
The event, organised by the Ulyanovsk UNESCO City of Literature Program Directorate, the Centralised Library System, and the Night City Hall, was held in the Zavolzhsky District for the second time and became one of the events of the City Day. Traveling around the New City area, the passengers of the special evening route listened to the texts from 12 UNESCO literary cities read by actors of the local Youth Theatre.
A literary tour by trolleybus is an opportunity to take a night journey into the world of contemporary literature and, this year, to get acquainted with texts from Manchester, Odessa, Granada, Nanjing, Wonju, Iowa, Milan, Dunedin, Norwich, Kuhmo, Utrecht, and Ulyanovsk. This is an event that aims to expand the presence of literature in an urban space, including areas remote from the city centre.
The texts for the tour were provided by writers and translators from other Creative Cities of Literature: one of the leading contemporary Chinese poets Han Dong (Nanjing); poet and performer Jasper Albinus (Utrecht); poet Timmy Straw, who translated the poetry of Grigory Dashevsky, and poet Sara Gilmore (Iowa City); poet, writer Amos Mattio and journalist, writer, TV presenter Rosa Teruzzi (Milan); award-winning poet Kim, Seung-Deok (Wonju); winner of the Premio Andalucía de la Crítica de poesía, poet Nieves Chillon (Granada); poet and writer Yulia Melnik (Odessa); poet Iona Winter (Dunedin); poet Mathilda Armiger(Norwich); poet afshan d-souza lodhi (Manchester) and others. Also, passengers of the Literary Trolleybus listened to the excerpt from the famous Karelian-Finnish epic “Kalevala” by Elias Lönnrot, provided by Kuhmo.
The participating authors sent texts specially selected or written for Ulyanovsk, dedicated to this year’s theme – “New”. This represents the hope that the entire world now needs in the face of the pandemic. Poetry and prose in Russian sounded in the translation of Ulyanovsk poet Sergei Gogin.
afshan d-souza lodhi was born in Dubai and bred in Manchester. She is a writer of scripts and poetry and was recently commissioned to write and direct a short film for Channel 4 (An Act of Terror) and a radio play for BBC Sounds (Chop Chop). Afshan is currently a Sky Writes writer-in-residence for Rotherham, a partnership between Sky Studios and New Writing North. She is also currently developing a TV series with Sky Studios. Afshan has edited many anthologies and has an essay featured in Picador’s collection by Muslim women called Its Not About The Burqa. Her debut poetry collection ‘re:desire’ (Burning Eye Books) has been longlisted for the Jhalak Prize (2021).Her most recent play, Santi & Naz, described as “tender yet sharply political” by The Guardian, won the Vault Outstanding New Work Award in 2020.
You can watch the video of afshan’s poem being read live in Russian from the literary tram below.