Photo by Anastasia Vlasova
When the war started in Ukraine, writer Natal’ya Vorozhbit started asking herself questions. Questions like whether she could take in a refugee; whether she would give away information under torture; and whether she could fall in love with a soldier. These questions kept running through her head, and prompted her to travel to the frontline in Donbas to interview journalists, doctors, soldiers and people affected by the war.
Here Natal’ya Vorozhbit reflects on the war in Ukraine and how it inspired her to write Bad Roads.
What do I know about myself? That I am
a woman of nearly forty. I have a daughter and no husband. I write.
I’ve always known that I can
get a divorce
shout at my mother
get a grip on myself
not go on a protest march
go on a protest march
I never knew I could
sing the national anthem on Maidan with lots of other people and with my hand on my heart
make up Molotov cocktails
bring tyres and set them alight
run away from shooting
go voluntarily into a warzone
live in a time of war
write in a time of war
shout at my mother in a time of war
drink champagne in a time of war
go running in the park in a time of war
sign a contract in a time of war
forget the war in a time of war
I don’t know what else I am capable of, a woman of forty, who has a daughter and no husband. Who writes.
Could I take in refugees into my home?
Could I die for my country?
Could I fall in love with a soldier?
Could I run away from my country?
Could I kill a person?
Could I betray a person?
When I asked myself these questions in 2014 I didn’t know that I would be able to answer one of them before long.
Bad Roads by Natal’ya Vorozhbit runs until 23 Dec in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs. Click here to find out more.