A Brief History of Durham-Kostroma Writers Exchanges

November 1989. Judy Hogan met Mayor Boris Korobov in front of Durham County Library where she was giving NEH-funded classes at that time, gave him copy of her book about the free classes, and followed up their 5-minute conversation with a letter, offering to correspond.

March 1990. Judy received a letter from Mikhail Bazankov, Executive Director of Kostroma Writers' Organization, wanting to initiate a Sister Cities exchange of writers, with her help.

August 1990. Judy went to Kostroma for 5 days, and she and Mikhail, with Korobov's approval worked out 3 more exchange visits, to occur in 1991 (Mikhail to US), 1992 (Durham writers to Kostroma), 1993 (Kostroma writers to Durham).

May 1992. Mikhail Bazankov came for a 2-1/2 week visit, delayed because of devaluation of ruble and rise of prices, funded entirely by Judy, including ticket, with moral support from Kostroma Committee. Three public programs were held, in Saxapahaw, Hillsborough, and Durham funded by N.C. Humanities Council, with scholars to comment on Bazankov's work, in addition to visits to UNC Press, Carolina Wren Press, writers' groups and meetings, churches, etc..

August 1992. Judy and Susan Broili went to Kostroma. Other writers were selected but had to pay their own way and were unable to. Susan is a reporter for Durham Herald-Sun and wrote several follow-up articles, including one about visiting painters' studios. We also visited Kostroma Art Museum and Ipatievsky Monastery, surrounding towns (Nerekhta/ Judy was also in Sharya and Gorka, a village in Mezha District), met with writers, etc.

photo of Russian visit Photograph of 1992 visit with Russian writers by Vitali Pashin
Standing, left to right: Nicolai Shishkin, interpreter; Vitali Pashin, writer; Boris Bochkarev, writer; Nadezhda Belykh, painter; Mikhail Bazankov, writer/Executive Director; Natalya Vyazankina, interpeter; Aleksei Belykh, painter; Ekaterina Bazankova, history teacher; Sitting, left to right: Svetlana Stepanova, poet; Susan Broili, N.C. poet/journalist; Judy Hogan; Ekaterina Soboleva, Administrative Assistant; Olga Gussakovskaya, writer.

November-December 1993. Mikhail Bazankov, Professor Yuri Lebedev, and Vyacheslav Shaposhnikov came for 5 weeks, funded again entirely by Judy. Sister Cities received grants for this project and gave moral support, but Judy did all the organizing, most of the driving and the daily interpreting. Four public programs were sponsored, one in Durham, one in Hillsborough, one in Saxapahaw, and one co-sponsored with Duke-UNC Slavic and East European Studies Program at UNC-CH. Scholars from Duke and UNC-CH commented on the writers' work. The writers also visited Judy's classes, met with writers, spent a day at Bennett College in Greensboro, and gave a workshop at N.C. Writer's Network.

September 25-December 25, 1995. Judy spent 3 months in Kostroma, teaching American Poetry in the English Department at the Pedagogical University (Yuri Lebedev's idea after visiting Judy's writing and literature classes). She also spoke with many groups, visited schools, libraries, etc., taught at the Recertification Institute for Teachers in Kostroma, lived in her own apartment. In some cases she had interpreters for the meetings, but often she spoke Russian, i.e., in the school visits, with the librarians. John and Sharon Ewing visited also in Sept-Oct, 1995.

Classes Mysteries

For more information, contact Judy: judyhogan@mindspring.com
Updated: November 3, 1999