Totalitarian Traumas: A Reading by Writers from the Former USSR

Room 430, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 4
Thursday, March 9, 2023
12:10 pm to 1:25 pm


Five writers from Ukraine, Russia, the Baltics, and other former Soviet republics stage a response to the war in Ukraine and the traumas of the totalitarian upbringing it has reawakened. In reading from our fiction, poetry, memoir, and journalism work, we present a deeper view of the region and offer textural solutions to making the political personal.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: AWP_Totalitarian_Traumas_J.pdf



Sasha Vasilyuk is a Russian-Ukrainian-American journalist and author of the forthcoming novel Your Presence Is Mandatory, set between Hitler’s Germany and post-WWII Ukraine. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, Time, NBC, Harper's Bazaar, Los Angeles Times, Narrative, and USA Today.

Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry, a Russian-Armenian, won 2020 Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Prize for her first story collection, What Isn't Remembered, long-listed for the PEN/Bingham Prize and short-listed for W. Saroyan International Prize. Her debut novel, The Orchard, was published in March of 2022.

Anna Halberstadt is a poet and a translator, author of two poetry collections in English—Vilnius Diary and Green in a Landscape with Ashes—and two in Russian—Transit and Gloomy Sun—as well translations of American poetry—Selected Selected by Eileen Myles and Nocturnal Fire by Edward Hirsch.

Anna Fridlis is a US-based, Soviet-born immigrant writer. She graduated from The New School with a nonfiction MFA in 2014 and has been teaching first-year writing at her alma mater since. She's working on a memoir in essays about immigration, trauma, family, and identity. She edits for Seventh Wave magazine.

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center