Award winning author speaks to slavic club

Seton Hall University’s Slavic Club and the Russian and East European studies program hosted the lecture, “Like a Chicken in the Soup-an American Education,” by award-winning author Anya Ulinich, which was attendedby about 50 students and faculty last Thursday.

“In the past, we’ve brought some very big names to campus,”Maxim Matusevich, associate professor of world history, faculty advisor to Slavic Club, and director of the Russian and East European Studies Program said.”I think having a person like her on campus brings visibility to this institution, to our program, and to Slavic Club.”

Ulinich wrote the novel “Petropolis,” which was published in 2007.
The piece has won the National Book Award’s “Five Under 35” prize.
In 2008, the Foundation for Jewish Culture awarded Ulinich its Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction.

Ulinich, in her presentation, provided an opportunity for students to ask questions and share their opinions.

The lecture focused on the author’s owns immigrant experience in America.

Ulinich also read a few excerpts from “Petropolis.”
Ulinich grew up in Moscow, Russia.

She immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of 17.
She now lives in Brooklyn.

“Petropolis” is the fictional story of a Russian-Jewish girl named Sasha Goldberg.

It follows her journey from Siberia to America in search of her father.
Matusevich feels that the reaction among the students in attendance and response to the lecture was positive.

“It was very interactive,” he said.”They wouldn’t want to leave after the talk.”

Matusevich said he believes that the topic of the lecture was especially relevant in this area. “A lot of students come from an immigrant background and can relate to the themes of cultural adaptation,” he said.

Sophomore and member of Slavic Club William Suggs said, “I think it’s awesome that we can have someone like this come and talk to us.”
Matusevich stressed the importance of “coziness” at Slavic Club events.

Slavic Club and Russian and East European Studies Program have several other upcoming events.

These include co-sponsoring the documentary, Freddy Ilanga: Che’s Swahili Translator, on Nov. 5.

Other on-campus organizations involved in this event are the Department of Africana Studies and Latin American and Latino/Latina Studies.

Katrin Hansing will also give a lecture at the event. Hansing is the Associate Professor of Black and Hispanic studies at Baruch College, City University of New York.

A lecture by Matusevish and documentary screening is scheduled for Nov. 12.

This event will celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“We’re very judicious in how we select our speakers and in the people we choose to have come. We want to introduce students to educational experiences of very high caliber,” he said.

Slavic Club meets in Fahy room 344 on Thursdays at 6 p.m.

Alyana Alfaro can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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