Jevgenij Demenok [Ukraine]
Lowjez slow, 2012
Kasus Beni Krika, 2015
Wsja Odessa otschen welika, 2016
The Ukrainian author, cultural studies scholar, and journalist Jevgeni Demenok was born in Odessa in 1969. He studied at the Kyiv Mohyla Business School in Kiev, where he received an MBA. He subsequently opened a chain of children’s cafés and centers for non-formal education in Odessa.
Jevgeni Demenok’s publications are dedicated to his native city of Odessa and the life and work of the authors and artists of the »Odessan Pleiad«. »Lowjez slow« (2012; tr. Word catcher) is a collection of aphorisms, observations, and linguistic experiment containing aspects of Odessan wordplay, which is known throughout Russian-speaking regions, and currently associated with satirist and writer Michail Zwanetsky, in particular. Characteristic for this type of humor is the mockery of human shortcomings and of social and political mistakes. »Kasus Beni Krika« (2015; tr. The case of Beni Krika), an anthology which took Demenok three years to write, refers to Benja Krik, the central character in Isaac Babel’s »Odessa Tales«. Here, too, he humorously tells of real and devised figures from the legendary world of Odessa. His newest book, »Wsja Odessa otschen welika« (2016; tr. All of Odessa is a big city), is a cultural and biographical study of the offspring of his home city who have gained fame abroad. »Odessans probably emigrate so they can return with the luster of fame – even if it is only the fame that returns, without the bearer. That is precisely what interests me, the return of fame.«
As well as being a journalist and cultural expert, Jevgeni Demenok is also an art collector. He has written numerous articles and essays about artists associated with Odessa, such as Leonid Pasternak, Franz Roubaud, Wassily Kandinsky, Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova, and many others. Based on extensive research in archives in Prague, he also wrote a book on the »father of Russian Futurism«, David Burliuk, and his siblings, who are also considered part of the Russian avant-garde. »Nowoje o Burljukach« (2013; tr. News about Burliuk) examines, in particular, the artist’s little-known early period, and contains previously unpublished photographs and poems by Burliuk.
Demenok writes for various newspapers and magazines in Ukraine, Russia, Israel, United States, the Czech Republic, Canada, Cyprus and Greece. He is a co-founder of the literary studio »Seljonaja lampa« (Green Lamp) and the philosophy club »Filosowski parochod« (Philosophers’ Ships) at the Worldwide Club of Odessites. For his book »Nowoje o Burljukach« he was awarded the municipal Paustovsky Prize. Jevgeni Demenok lives in Odessa.