Belarus remembers People's Writer Yanka Bryl

4 August 2017

By Daria Tarasova: Today is the 100th birthday anniversary of Yanka Bryl, also known to Belarusians as the poet from the Fiery Village. The People's Writer of the BSSR created works that all Belarusians study at school, including the novels Nizhniya Вaiduny, Orphan's Bread, and Dawn,Seen from Afar.

Yanka Bryl started systematizing his creative work independently. In 1963, the national writer brought his manuscripts to this archive of literature and art. As stated in the inventory, it weighed 2 kg. This heavy stack of documents contained his novels, short stories, essays, and some private writings.

For 5 years, these records were classified – following the will of the classic himself. Now, all 162 documents are publicly available. Here, both in manuscripts and on printed pages, Yanka Bryl genuinely describes his life from 1932 to 2006. It is a biography that lists 12,750 documents. His autograph is also preserved here – this is the name of one of the manuscripts. The folder contains an outline of the future literary masterpieces, which the author did in pencil only. He would usually start the creation of his works with a plan, and he would sort all the names of his characters in a separate column. By the way, this is how he came up with his pseudonym Yanka – his real name was Ivan.

To celebrate the 100th birthday anniversary of the writer, a creative laboratory of his works was presented in the University of Art Gallery. Among the central exhibits is a special issue of the newspaper Literature and Art – it was edited by Bryl. All this came after the war, though. In 1939, he was drafted into the army, served in the marines, was captured, then escaped and went on to join the partisan movement. Therefore, after the horrors that he witnessed, he often turned to the theme of the Great Patriotic War.

Yanka Bryl was not only a novelist but also a poet and a translator. Thanks to him, Belarusian can now read such Russian classics as Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Gorky in Belarusian. Also, the works of Yanka Bryl are translated into 30 languages.