(Алесь Асташонак; *1954, Minsk; †2004, Kiev)
A writer, playwright, script writer and translator.
After graduating from the University of Foreign Languages in Minsk in 1976, he worked for two year in Algeria as an interpreter in metallurgical industry. After his return to Belarus, he worked as an editor in publishing houses and journals and as an actor in the Akt Dramatic Studio.
In the 1980s, he wrote plays, among others Камедыянт/The Commedian, Іскры ўначы/Sparks at Night, Ахвяра/Sacrifice, and several film scripts (the film Сон /A Dream won the first prize at the Soviet Festival of Television Films and at the International Film Festival in Teruelo, Spain). In 1989, he published a collection of short stories Фарбы душы/Colours of the Soul. His second buook Жоўты снег/Yellow Snow was ready for publication in 1994, but it was retrieved from the editorial plan of the Мастацкая літаратура publishing house with no explanation and to day it only exists as a proof. Before 1997, Astashonak published in journals and was awarded various literary journal prizes for the best publication between 1994 and 1999. He moved to Ukraine in 1996 and ended his writing career one year later (with one exception in 1999).
From 2001, he worked in Kiev as an assistant to a psychiatrist-addictologist and wrote a popular-scientific book on addiction. Although he did not publish, he did not stop writing fiction. He wanted to interrupt his publishing pause in 2005 and publish written short stories and novellas, but he died tragically in September 2004, two months after his fiftieth birthday.
Astashonak was one of the most prolific translators from French and English and he introduced to the Bealurian readers work of more than fifty writers, such as: P. Boulle, R. L. Stevenson, E. Ionesco, E. O’Neill, A. Barbus, B. Vian, G. Apollinaire, W. Faulkner, E. Hemingway, R. Bradberry and others. Some of Astashonak’s short stories have been translated into Russian, Lithuanian, Finnich, Slovak, Bulgarian and Ukrainian.
(Николай Халезин; *1964, Minsk)
He is a playwright and journalist.
In the late 1980s and in the 1990s he had numerous cultural activities: he founded The Alternative Theatre in Minsk, he founded and directed the Vita Nova Gallery which later became the Modern Art Centre, and he was an editor of several important weeklies, which were shut down by the government for political reasons.
In March 2005, he and his wife Natalia Kaljadou founded The Free Theatre and he became its artistic director. The guarantor of the Theatre’s activities is sir Tom Stoppard, and Václav Havel used to be one, too. The Free Theatre is de facto banned in Belarus and it can only perform in private apartments, while it is successful in other countries, where it gets enthusiastic reviews and important international theatre prizes.
Chalezin authored ten plays. The Czech audience is familiar with one of them — the monodrama Generation Jeans. Another Chalezin’s play, Here I Am, was awarded as one of the five best plays (out of 557 texts) at the Berlin Theatre Festival. Actors from the Berlin Volksbühne participated in its staged reading. The latest play by Chalezin Under Control was shortlisted (together with 8 other texts) in the Global Playwright Contest.
Chalezin holds a number of prestigeous prizes for dramatists in various countries.
After the last presidential election, he and his wife were forced to leave the country, where he faced imprisonment for his artistic and publishing activities. He now lives in London.
(Сяргей Кавалёў; *1963, Mahiljov)
He is a playwright and literary scholar.
He graduated in Philology at the Belarusian State University in Minsk, where he later taught. He is now Professor at Marie Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin. He began his writing career as a literary critic. He was one of the leading personalities of the literary association Тутэйшыя /Local. His interest in drama began in early 1990s and he gradually created the hermeneutic drama as a genre (Стомлены д’ябал /Tired Devil, Трышчан ды Іжота /Tristan and Izolde, Чатыры гісторыі Саламеі /Four Salome’s Stories, Францішка, або навука кахання /Frantishka, or the Science of Love, Тарас на Парнасе /Taras on the Parnassus, etc.). he also writes for children.
His plays were staged in Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia. He wrote the play Вяртанне Галадара /The Return of the Hungry Artist in 2005 and it was staged in the Belorusian Drama Theatre in Minsk in 2009, while the premiere took place at the Theatrical Confrontations international festival in Lublin, Poland.
(Павел Пражко; *1975, Minsk)
He is a playwright and script writer.
He studied law and literature in Minsk, but he dropped out. He began to write plays in 2004. It turned out that Belorusian theatres are too puritan for Prazhko’s open texts, which are only sporadically performed in Belarus as staged readings. He immediately became a star in Russia, though. Already in 2007, six directors competed for making his play at the Ljubimovka drama competition in Moscow.
He became famous thanks to his play Трусы /Panties which was perfomed in Moscow under direction of Ivan Vyrypayev, one of the best known playwrights writing in Russian in Europe. Among Prazhko’s important plays, there are Жизнь удалась /Life is Good, Закрытая дверь /A Closed Door, Солдат /Soldier, Урожай /Harvest, Хозяин кофейни /Coffeshop Owner, and others.
Pavel Prazhko has won a lot of theatre prizes, besides others the special prize from the Eurasia 2004 international drama competition for his play Серпантин /Serpentine or the grand prix for his play Panties at the Free Theatre international drama competition.
He lives in Minsk.
(Уладзімір Сауліч; *1951, Macjasy)
He is a dramatist and journalist.
He studied Belarusian at the Belarusian State University. He has lived in his native Hlubocky district in the North of Belarus. He worked as a primary school teacher, later he worked in a local radio station, and currently he works for a local newspaper. He has written several plays, which were collected and published under the title Халімон камандуе парадам /Chalimon Directs the Procession in 1993.His most successful play is Сабака з залатым зубам /The Dog with the Golden Tooth which was staged in Janko Kupala’s National Dramatic Theatre in Minsk in 1992. His second and so far latest book is a collection of reports about agricultural female workers of the Belarusian north Антэі Прыдзвіння /Antei Podzvini (2010).
(Ігар Сідарук; *1964, Kobryn)
He is a writer, playwright and journalist.
After he graduated from the Belarusian State University in 1986, he worked as a steelworker, businessman and freelance copyrighter. He now works as dramaturge of the Brest Puppet Theatre and a journalist.
He has been writing poems, short stories and plays from mid-1980s. He published collections of poems Чарнабел/Black-white (1991), Саната Арганата/ Sonnate Argonata (1993), Моўкнасьць/ Reticence (1998) and a book of short stories Квадратная варона/Square Crow (2000). The journal ARCHE characterized Sidaruk as a “phantasmagoric writer, surrealist dramatist, evangelist of marginal conscience, and master of black bourlesque”. His works for children include the book Павучальныя гісторыі дзядзечкі Сіда Рука/Uncle Sid Ruk’s Instructive Stories (1994), that successfully continued in a Belarusian weekly Ніва published in Byalystok, Poland. He also wrote several plays for children, such as Кветка для анёлка/ A Flower for an Angel (which won a one-acts for children competition in 2001), Залатая табакерка/ Golden Cigarette Case (grand prix at the Белая Вежа international theatre festival in Brest in 2001) and others.
Sidaruk is one of the founders of Таварыства вольных літаратараў/ A Circle of Free Writers.
He lives in Kobryn.