Katrina Keegan

Manuscripts Don't Burn, and Reading Russian Literature Won't Burn Me

This is a collection of Soviet-era Russian classics, which I have gathered since 2015 throughout two total years living and travelling in eight post-Soviet countries. In the Soviet Union, books were both an act of defiance and a commitment to unity. At first, I collected them because they transcend time: these used books from the past represented belief in my ability to read them in the future, in defiance of my Russian language teachers’ insistence that I wasn’t ready. Now, as I study four other regional languages, I continue to collect these (often, ubiquitous) Soviet books because they transcend space, unifying places that have long since left the Soviet Union.

-Katrina Keegan, fourth-year winner