A Walk through Tbilisi. Archil Kikodze in conversation with Wendell Steavenson
FREE online events.
Sunday 28 February 14.45 – 15.30
The Georgian capital is the most important character in The Southern Elephant, an award-winning novel by actor, writer, filmmaker, photographer, birdwatcher and eco-guide Archil Kikodze. It takes place on a single day, as a film director vacates his apartment to make way for a friend’s tryst, wandering aimlessly amid the Old Town’s ruined mansions, the Art Nouveau grandeur of Rustaveli Avenue, or Soviet-era brutalist architecture in a city of memories. Tbilisi was a war zone during Archil’s youth in the early 1990s, with refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia filling its hotels. Inviting comparisons with Joyce’s Dublin or Pamuk’s Istanbul, the city formerly known as Tiflis provides the backdrop to his alternative urban history.
He is joined in the fantastic tavern by author and journalist Wendell Steavenson in Paris, who lived in Tbilisi not long after the Soviet Union collapsed, and whose book Stories I Stole is filled with its voices.
You can read an extract from Archil Kikodze’s novel The Southern Mammoth, translated by Maya Kiasashvili, on Words Without Borders.
Please note: all timings are GMT