my book: 9 posts

Mexico City and Oaxaca Recommendations

I’m participating in the Hay Festival Querétaro 2023 and I have two events, during which I will present my book, The Rooster House, and talk about Ukraine:
Victoria Belim in conversation with Eduardo de la Garma de la Rosa and Alejandra Martínez Quesada
Thursday 7 September 2023, 12pm
Venue: Tec de Monterrey, Punto Blanco

Victoria Belim in conversation with Yael Weiss
Friday, September 8, 2023, 10:30 a.m.
Venue: City Theatre

I hope to meet some of you there. You can see the full program at the Hay Festival Querétaro website.

On this note, if you have recommendations for what to see and do in Mexico City and Oaxaca, I would be grateful. My readers make the most wonderful suggestions and I learn a lot from you.

Image: Frida Kahlo, Roots.

Edinburgh International Book Festival and City Recommendations

I’m participating in the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year, and I hope to meet some of you there. I will be in conversation with the Nigerian writer Emmanuel Iduma about loss, inheritance and the impact of war on families.

Victoria Belim & Emmanuel Iduma: Lost Legacies, Hidden Histories
Tue 15 Aug 13:30 – 14:30 Baillie Gifford Sculpture Court
Baillie Gifford Sculpture Court
You can attend in person or watch online by following this link.

Victoria Belim & Emmanuel Iduma: Lost Legacies, Hidden Histories
Authors Victoria Belim and Emmanuel Iduma share their personal, moving experiences, discussing the interplay between global forces and personal histories. They have a dogged shared commitment to unearthing the past – Belim in The Rooster House, tying family secrets to Ukraine’s hidden history; and Iduma in I Am Still With You, part-memoir, part-political reckoning tracing his roots amongst those displaced by the Nigerian Civil War. Chaired by Marjorie Lotfi.

Watch online
Available live, then on-demand until 00:00 on Saturday 30 September.

I visited Edinburgh once before, but I still don’t know the city well. If you have any recommendations on what to visit and see, I would be grateful.

The Rooster House New York Times Review

I’m delighted to share that my book The Rooster House is now available in the USA and Canada. It has been released by Abrams Press on June 27th and it’s now on the bookshelves around the country. The New York Times ran a review of my book earlier this week.

“When something of ours, something we took for granted as being ours, is destroyed before our eyes,” writes the Ukrainian-born journalist Victoria Belim, early in her absorbing memoir, “we are destroyed along with it.” “When Going Home Becomes a Fact-Finding Mission,” The New York Times, June 27, 2023

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The Rooster House Now in Stores

My book The Rooster House was published yesterday by Virago Press. It’s being released during a trying time for my country. Even though its story begins in 2014, my book explains the context in which the Russian invasion takes place. It does so by focusing on ordinary people and their voices. While the book recounts Ukrainian history through a personal story, it celebrates four generations of remarkable women who held our family together through the most trying circumstances. As The Rooster House reveals, Ukrainian history is full of tragic events, but it is also a testament to the resilience and strength of Ukrainians. My great-grandmother Asya and my grandmother Valentina possessed incredible emotional resources, which made them able to protect their family and take care of their land.

As I wrote my memoir, I sought to capture my grandmothers’ lessons in seeking beauty and deriving support from creative pursuits like embroidery or gardening. For this reason, Ukrainian culture and art form the leitmotif of The Rooster House, and I take the reader on a journey with me through descriptions of Ukrainian scents, foods, nature, and arts. My memoir is an invitation to stroll through our cherry orchard in Bereh and become more intimately familiar with the elements that make up the colorful and diverse Ukrainian identity.

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Celebrating Easter in Ukraine

It was a few days before Easter when I arrived in Ukraine in 2014 to stay with my grandmother, Valentina. Taking advantage of being together for the first time in years for this holiday, we prepared a large feast, colored eggs with onion peels and baked paska, a brioche-like Easter bread.  I became obsessed with photographing every part of our preparations, making my grandmother laugh. She didn’t understand what was interesting about recording everything. I didn’t understand it myself at the time, but I felt that I had to capture as many of my impressions as possible. Ukraine was going through a painful period as Russia had annexed Crimea and was also supporting various separatist movements in the eastern part of the country. We lived with the sounds of gunfire from the military training grounds nearby and with bitter news from the front.

Yet, as we celebrated Easter with its powerful message of renewal and rebirth, we felt hopeful. We planted vegetables and flowers in the garden. We whitewashed our cherry trees. We waited for the blossoms to burst.

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