33booksforanotherbelarus 33booksforanotherbelarus

Language Games


Tanya Dzivakova and Vera Burlak

About the book

The artist and educator Tanya Dzivakova and the poet, translator and doctor of literature Vera Burlak are developing language games for children in Belarusian, a language that is coming under increasing pressure in today's Belarus. Many children left the country with their parents after the suppressed revolution and need support so that they do not lose their connection to the Belarusian language. A number of games have already been created, among them one titled Tree variety with trees as the main characters, whose lives and characters could not be more different. The way these trees turn out exactly, however, depends on the players, who can cut out the picture parts and lines of poetry and reassemble them each time. Another game is called Mutual Touches. This game is about seeing different phenomena in the world from a new perspective, for example by climbing a giant construction crane. Further language games are in the pipeline. The target group is not only Belarusian children, but also adults from many countries who want to learn Belarusian. As part of the campaign, the games are to be published for the first time in a volume as a craft book.

About the author

Tanya Dzivakova is a scenographer, designer and illustrator. She studied at the Belarusian State Glebov College of Design from 2002-2004 and worked as an art historian and student at the Belarusian State Academy of Arts from 2004-2009; from 2009-2010 she worked as an art historian at the National Museum of History and Culture in Nyasvish. In 2010 she co-founded the theater group Laboratory Figures Oskar Schlemmer; in 2011-2021 she worked in Belarusian, Ukrainian and Polish drama and puppet theaters. She also created numerous illustrations for books and CDs and taught master classes in illustration. In 2016-2021 she led several toddler groups and Montessori children's groups for preschool children and organized art and theater courses for children from 3 to 7 years old. Today she lives in exile in Warsaw.

Vera Burlak was born in Kyiv in 1977. She graduated from the Faculty of Philology at the Belarusian State University in Minsk and completed her doctorate there with a thesis on Russian children's literature between the 19th and 20th centuries. She is the author of the poetry collections "For a Healthy Lifestyle" ("Sa sdarovy lad schylzja", 2003), "Kill the Socrates in You" ("Sabi ŭ sabe Sakrata", 2008, together with Viktar Schybul), "Children and Ghosts" ("Dsezi i sdani", 2012), "Hand at Feet" ("Ruku da nahi", 2013, published alongside the translation into Polish by Katarzyna Kwiatkowska and Adam Pomorski under the title "Rękę do nogi"), the prose collection "Works of the Dream Genre" ("Tvory sonnaha schanru", 2011) and the poetry collection for children "Little Fantasy" ("Fantasjurki", 2018). She is also the author and interpreter of audio book texts, such as "Phantom of The Literature" (2008) and translates fiction from English, Ukrainian and Russian into Belarusian - such as Lewis Caroll's "Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There" ("Skvos ljusterka i schto ŭbatschyla tam Alisa", 2017 et al.) Today she lives in exile in Stuttgart.

About the publisher

The book is part of the "Semki" project (Belarusian for sunflower seeds).

Production status

Some games are finished, others are in the making.