Literary trolleybus 2021 in Ulyanovsk: new literature in the city

On September 10, the Literary trolleybus passed through Ulyanovsk. The event, organized by the Ulyanovsk UNESCO City of Literature Program Directorate, the Centralized 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 Youth Theater.

A literary tour by trolleybus is an opportunity to take a night journey into the world of contemporary literature and get acquainted with the texts from Manchester, Odessa, Granada, Nanjing, Wonju, Iowa, Milan, Dunedin, Norwich, Kuhmo, Utrecht, and Ulyanovsk. This is another event that expands the presence of literature in the urban space, including areas remote from the city center.

The texts for the tour were provided by - 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. In June, the passengers of the Literary tram, which passed through the city center, listened to the first part of the texts from literary cities.

The participating authors sent texts specially selected or written for Ulyanovsk, dedicated to this year's theme - "New". The new is 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.

Texts fragments were read by the actors of the Ulyanovsk Youth Theater: Alexandra Dydychkina, Yuri Efremov, Vitaly Myalitsin, Valeria Kamenskikh, Margarita Volkova.

Actor of the Youth Theater Yuri Efremov read the works by Han Dong, Jasper Albinus and Timmy Straw. 

The Youth Theater actress Alexandra Dydychkina presented lyrics by Amos Mattio, Kim Seung-Deok and Iona Winter.

Valeria Kamenskikh, an actress of the Youth Theater, read "Kalevala". She also performed Afshan D-Souza Lodhi and Nieves Chillon's texts.

The Youth Theater actress Margarita Volkova read the works of Rosa Teruzzi and Yulia Melnik.

Youth Theater actor Vitaly Myalitsin read poems by Mathilda Armiger and Sara Gilmore.

Ulyanovsk authors-laureates of the First Dew literary contest also presented their texts: Vlada Mitrofanova, Anisia Matlina, Artyom Dallakyan, Ekaterina Bogdanova.

The organizers of the event: Ulyanovsk UNESCO City of Literature Program Directorate, Ulyanovsk Night City Hall, the Ulyanovsk Centralized Library System, the Culture and Leisure Department of the Ulyanovsk City Administration, Ulyanovskelectrotrans, the Youth Initiative Center with the support of the regional government.

Literary tram and Literary trolleybus tours-2021 in Ulyanovsk: the authors and translators

 (cities are presented in alphabetical order)


David Howard is an award-winning poet, writer, and editor. His works have been widely published, and many of his poems have been translated into a variety of European languages. Howard has published several collections of poetry, including The Incomplete Poems (Cold Hub Press, 2011), which encompasses 35-years of his writing. He held the Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand in 2013. In more recent years he has been the recipient of several UNESCO City of Literature Residencies, including Ulyanovsk. Though throughout his career Howard has primarily been situated in New Zealand, his work has taken him to many different countries. Among his awards: Gordon & Gotch National Poetry Award (1984), New Zealand Society of Authors Mid-Career Writers Award (2009), University of South Pacific Poetry Prize (2011), Robert Burns Fellowship, Dunedin (2013). 

Iona Winter (Waitaha/Kāi Tahu) lives in Ōtepoti Dunedin. Her hybrid work is widely published and anthologised in literary journals internationally. Iona creates work to be performed, relishing cross-modality collaboration, and holds a Master of Creative Writing. She has authored three collections, Gaps in the Light (2021), Te Hau Kāika (2019), and then the wind came (2018). Skilled at giving voice to difficult topics, she often draws on her deep connection to land, place and whenua.

Carolyn McCurdie is a Dunedin writer of poetry and fiction. She won the 1998 Lilian Ida Smith Award for her short fiction, and first prize in the NZ Poetry Society International Poetry Competition in 2013. Books so far include a children’s fantasy novel The Unquiet, published by Longacre Press in 2006, a short story collection Albatross from e-publisher Rosa Mira Books 2014, and a poetry collection, Bones in the Octagon from Mākaro Press in 2015. She is an active member of the Octagon Collective which organises regular live poetry events in the city.



Born in Orce, Granada, Spain (1981). She has published Arborescente (Pre-Textos, 2020), which won the Premio Andalucía de la Crítica de poesía, in addition to other books of poetry: El libro de Laura Laurel (Premio Unicaja, Pre-Textos 2017), El asa rota (Premio Villa de Peligros, Diputación de Granada, 2015), Rasguños (Vitruvio, 2013), La canción de Penélope (Ayto. Lucena, 2011), Morning Blues (Cuadernos del Vigía, 2006) and La hora violeta (Colección Granada Literaria, 2004).


Margaret Yapp is from Iowa City, Iowa. Her poems have appeared in New Delta Review, Peach Mag, the Minnesota Review, and elsewhere. Margaret is an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. You can find her on the internet @bigbabymarg.

Timmy Straw is a poet, translator and pianist from Oregon, at present on a poetry fellowship at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Most recently they lived in Moscow on a Fulbright to translate the poetry of Grigori Dashevsky. Their work has been published in Jacket2, Tin House, Spork, Volta and elsewhere.

Sara Gilmore lives with her young son, Samuel, in Mairena del Aljarafe, Spain and sometimes in Rochester, MN and Chicago, IL. She holds an MFA in literary translation from the University of Iowa, where she graduated in the spring of 2010. Since then, she has been dedicated to translating and copywriting, providing proofreading and editing services mostly on short, fast-turnaround texts in many fields and occasionally on novels and theses. She works with Chicago, APA, Harvard, CSE, and AP styles, and she writes, too.


Elias Lönnrot (9.4.1802-19.3.1884) worked as a district physician in Kajaani, Kuhmo from 1833 to 1853. During this time he made several trips to the Karelia of the White Sea region to collect old poems – a specific type of oral tradition of tales, myths, and spells that the Finns and Karelian peoples would refer to as runosongs. Oftentimes his trips took Lönnrot to Kuhmo – and although most of the poems came from the Viena Karelia region, Lönnrot collected some of the poems from the Kainuu district.

Based on these runosongs he collected, Elias Lönnrot wrote his book the Kalevala. The first version, Vanha Kalevala (the Old Kalevala) was published in 1835, and the augmented edition was published in 1849. The Kalevala became very popular, and nowadays it is regarded as Finland`s national epos. To this day, Elias Lönnrot remains one of the most respected and best-known authors of Finnish literary history.

Kiuru & Mishkin translation

Eino Kiuru (18.1.1929-25.1.2015) and Armas Mishin 15.2.1935-9.10.2018), two translators from an Ingrian Finn background, translated the Kalevala epos into Russian in 1998. The version that we used is an augmented edition published in 2007 by the Juminkeko Center for Kalevala and Karelian culture. Kiuru`s and Mishin`s translation has raised much discussion, and it is widely regarded as one, if not the most accurate Russian translation of the Kalevala epos.


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. 

As well as her own writing, Afshan is keen to develop other younger and emerging artists and sits on the boards of Manchester Literature Festival and Pie Radio and is also a Young Trustee Ambassador for the North West. Afshan also sits on the steering committee for Northern Police Monitoring Project, an independent campaigning and advocacy organisation that challenges police harassment and violence.


Amos Mattio, born in 1974, teaches Italian Literature in Milan, where he also coordinates the activities of the ‘Casa della Poesia di Milano’. He published four volumes of poems, three novels, and his poems appear in six anthologies. His poems have been translated into English, Spanish, Romanian and Serbian.

"The Wadding Time" is a poem that picks up some key points of Mattio's poetry: time, memory, remembrance, considered in a positive meaning, and the circularity of History. This poetry suggests these times are a prelude to a future when the tear will be mended. Translated by Silvia Cusumano, edited by Gradiva

Author's reading of the poem on YouTube

Elisa Biagini lives in Florence, Italy after having taught and studied in the U.S. for several years. Her poems have been published in several Italian and American reviews and anthologies. She has published 8 poetry collections-some bilingual- and her poems have been translated into English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Croatian, Japanese, Slovak, Russian, Serbian, Arabic, Turkish and Chinese. She teaches Art History and Creative Writing (Poetry, Travel Writing, Literature) at NYU Florence and abroad. 

"Alternating Current" is an excerpt from the collection "Filaments", which begins with a sentence by Mary Shelley and develops into a poem that dialogues with other writings, from Emily Dickinson to Paul Celan. In this text, Mary Shelley recounts her attempt to bring her dead mother to a "new" life. Edited by Einaudi

Antonia Pozzi was an Italian poet born in Milan in 1912. In her lifetime she wrote 300 poems, all published after her death by suicide in 1938, aged 26. Although Pozzi did not gain recognition for her work in her lifetime, is considered to be one of the most original voices in modern Italian literature.

Her poems have later been published many times in Italy, and she has been translated into several languages.
In "A Longing for Light Things”, soaked in melancholy and hope, the poetess focuses on gestures, the simplest shades that can bring peace within us. When the heart weighs like a stone because life is hard and the obstacles are often too high, we feel stuck, and only the simplest things can free us. Translated by Nicholas Benson

Rosa Teruzzi is an Italian journalist, writer, and television presenter. She lives and works in Milan, is an expert on crime, and editor-in-chief of the television program Quarto grado. She has published nine novels and several short mystery stories. To write her novels she settles in an old railway tollhouse on the Lake Como in the summer.

"The hour of air” is a story published in Milan's Corriere della sera in 2005 and was one of the winners of the 'ViviMilano in sessanta righe' competition. A story of redemption and rebirth.


Han Dong was born in Nanjing city in 1961, is one of the most important poets and writers of contemporary China. As a representative of “the third generation”, he has made a great contribution to the growth of modern Chinese poetry. During recent years he has won many important literary awards in China, including the "Chinese Media Literature Award". His works have been translated into different languages and published around the world.

«Miracle» is a selection of Han Dong’s latest production of poems, which directly touch the details of life with clear and simple language. He writes about the “routines”, including works dedicated to his friends in the field of art. This title represents his newest creation, which continues his exploration of poem and truth, and emphasizes deep emotions.

About the translator

Jan Siesling is a writer of fiction, poetry, and art history. He has published books and articles in English, Dutch, French, Greek, Chinese, and Italian. Born in 1951 in the Netherlands, he lived in France before coming to the United States. Trained as an art historian at the Free University of Amsterdam, he has lectured at many universities and museums. From 2007 to 2011, he was the director of the Art Museum of the University of Southern Mississippi. When not writing, he is a passionate traveler, in Europe and North America, now discovering China.


Mathilda Armiger is an 18 year old writer based in Norwich and Paris. She was a Foyles Young Poet in 2018, 1st place in the University of Hertfordshire’s 2019 poetry competition, and is currently one of the Young Norfolk Poet Laureates for the National Centre of Writing.


Julia Melnik is a poet and writer. Member of the Literary Studios "Stream", "Green Lamp", "Revelation". Diploma-recipient of festivals: "Scarlet Sails", "Province by the Sea" "Odessa International Literary and Music Festival Music of the Word". Author of poetry collections "Voiced Watercolors", "Angel with a Saxophone", etc.


Jasper Albinus (1997) has been performing as a poet and spoken word artist for a number of years. He uses his poetry and performance as instruments to get a grip on issues concerning identity, history and politics. He performs at literary festivals, in the theatre and sometimes makes a poetic contribution to a debate. He is affiliated with spoken word collective Poetry Circle and attended the Slow Writing Lab of the Dutch Foundation for Literature.


Kim, Seung-Deok

He made his first debut as a poet in Poetry and Review in 2002 and as a Sijo poet in Sijo Literature in 2010. Sijo is a traditional three0-verse Korean poem. He published four poetry books and was awarded four prizes including Dongbaek Art Award. He is a member of The Korean Writers’ Association.

Translator: Eva Li

Translator of the texts into Russian - Sergei Gogin, a poet (Ulyanovsk)

Sergei Gogin was born in 1964 in Uralsk. Graduated from the Ulyanovsk Polytechnic Institute. He worked on the regional radio and television, newspapers. In 1996, he graduated from the American University in Washington with a master's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication.

From 2014 to 2017, on the stage of the Ulyanovsk Regional Drama Theater, there was a one-act play "A Little Man with a Big Heart" based on Sergei Gogin's poetry cycle. He is also the coordinator of the "Eight" literary studio and the English speaking club.