Event—Adult Education

Understanding Ukraine through Contemporary Literature


Learn about Ukraine from the 1950s through to the present through various perspectives.

The Investigator (2015) by Margarita Khemlin

Class Description

This class will provide insight on Ukraine’s experiences through the polyphony of Jewish and gentile voices, the rootlessness of exile, and encounters with Ukrainian people, places, and stories, starting from the 1950s and ending with the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

We will discuss Margarita Khemlin’s The Investigator, Andrey Kurkov’s Grey Bees, Yevgenia Belorusets’s collection of stories, Lucky Breaks, Kurkov’s and Belorusets’s diaries, and the visual arts to explore complexity, national identity, and the diverse nature of Soviet and post-Soviet Ukraine. 

Julia Kriventsova Denne studied literature at St. Petersburg University, Russia, and teaches Russian literature and culture in the Chicago area.

Materials List


  • Margarita Khemlin, The Investigator. Glagoslav, 2015. ISBN: 978-1784379667
  • Andrey Kurkov, Grey Bees. Deep Vellum Publishing, 2022. ISBN: 978-1646051663
  • Yevgenia Belorusets, Lucky Breaks. New Directions, 2022. ISBN: 978-0811229845


First Reading

  • Please read pp. 3-162 of The Investigator for the first session.

Cost and Registration

Six Sessions, $268 ($241 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


Support the Newberry

Your generosity is vital in keeping the library’s programs, exhibitions, and reading rooms free and accessible to everyone.

Make a Gift


Call us at (312) 255-3700 or send us an email.

Email Us

More Adult Education Classes