Svetlana Alexievich’s next book is on ‘revolution with a woman’s face’ in Belarus

Svetlana Alexievich’s next book is on ‘revolution with a woman’s face’ in Belarus
Nobel prize winning writer-in-exile Svetlana Alexievich is the chair of PEN Belarus

15 June 2021

Nobel Prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich is writing a book about the pro-democracy movement in Belarus, dubbing the ongoing protests “revolution with a woman’s face”.

Echoing Alexievich’s previous work, The War’s Unwomanly Face, which traces the experiences of the Soviet army’s unsung women fighters during the Second World War, her new book will be looking at the role of women in the protests that have swept the country since last August 2020.

“Our revolution has a woman’s face,” she told news agency Reuters in Berlin, where she has lived in exile since September. She drew attention to the opposition movement’s female leaders, the exiled Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who many consider to be the leader of Belarus following the vote in August last year, and her colleague Maria Kolesnikova, who is now jailed in Belarus.

“If this was a revolution with a male face it would probably have been about a war and bloodshed,” Alexievich said. She hailed the non-violent nature of the protests, despite the unprecedented wave of police brutality used to quell demonstrations. “And even if it’s not effective immediately, [the protesters] are working away like moles, digging a tunnel to the future.”

The Nobel laureate, who has been a vocal critic of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his regime, says she plans to return to Minsk once it is safe for her to do so. “It’ll probably only be when Lukashenko is no longer in power,” she said.

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