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D5 Viv Groskop: One Ukranian Summer

The Bath Festival 2024

The Guildhall

Comedian, broadcaster and writer Viv Groskop makes a welcome return to the festival to launch her memoir One Ukrainian Summer, a poignant and often comical account of coming-of-age story of first love in the time after the Cold War and before Putin. A love letter to a unique moment in history. She talks to Joanna Nadin.

Autumn 1993. The former USSR. Viv is about to turn 21 and is on a study year abroad, supposedly immersed in the language, history and politics of a world that has just ceased to exist: the Soviet Union.

Instead, she finds herself immersed in Bogdan Bogdanovich - the lead guitarist of a Ukrainian punk rock band. As the temperature drops, he promises that if she can get through the freezing Russian winter, he will give her ‘one Ukrainian summer.’ But is he serious about her? Or is she just another groupie?

At parties, gigs and dive bars, Viv and her new friends argue over whose turn it is to buy cigarettes, the best places to find Levi's jeans and whether beer counts as a soft drink. No-one debates the merits of speaking Ukrainian over Russian, the precise location of the border or the undeniable brightness of the future. Of course good times are here to stay. Because the Soviet Union is finished. Isn't it?

All author proceeds for One Ukrainian Summer go to PEN International for their global work supporting writers at risk. Find out more:

Viv Groskop is a British award-winning writer, comedian, broadcaster and performance coach. She is the author of the best-selling How to Own the Room: Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking and Lift As You Climb: Women and the Art of Ambition. Her award-nominated podcast How To Own The Room is the biggest public speaking podcast in the world — with over a million downloads — and features interviews with Hillary Clinton, Margaret Atwood, Professor Mary Beard, Julie Andrews, Google CEO Matt Brittin, Succession’s Brian Cox and dozens more talking about public speaking, confidence and managing high-pressure situations. Her other books include The Anna Karenina Fix and Au Revoir, Tristesse. She appears regularly on BBC TV and radio and for six years she did a run of sold-out one-woman comedy shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.



D5 Viv Groskop: One Ukranian Summer