Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

30
Oct
09

Farewell and Eternal Blue Skies to Anna Yegorova

Anna in uniform,front

 

A fond farewell to Anna Alexandrovna Timofeyeva-Yegorova, hero to me and many, decorated WWII attack pilot and intrepid 91-year-old survivor of the great and terrible events of last century.

 

I wish her eternal blue skies and tailwinds, ceiling and visibility unlimited; or as Russian pilots say, миллион на миллион…

 

Anna Alexandrovna died on October 29, after prolonged illness.

26
May
09

Valentina Delivers Anna Alexandrovna’s Quilt

Saturday, May 23, my former Russian professor, the most excellent and accomplished Juliette Stapanian Apkarian, kindly delivered Anna Alexandrovna’s quilt to my friends Valentina Ivanovna Kotlyar (retired airline pilot and Aviatrissa club VP) and Lidiya Yakovlevna Zaitseva (retired MiG pilot, world-record holder). Saturday afternoon, they presented Anna Alexandrovna with a hand-made quilt sewn by my mom and signed by more than fifty women pilots and aviation enthusiasts from the U.S. and Russia. 

Anna Yegorova with her quilt

Anna Yegorova reads Kim's letter and the many messages on her quilt

Anna Alexandrovna joked that she wanted to study English so she could read all the messages from the American pilots, and she said she planned to hang the quilt on the wall “like a picture.” She sends her wishes to the members of Women in Aviation, International and thanks them for their kind words.

Thank you to Juliette, Valentina, and Lidiya for delivering the quilt to Anna Alexandrovna, to the fine women of WAI for their messages to her, and to my mom for her labor at the sewing machine! 

I’m wondering if there’s a bright future for quilt diplomacy…

-KG

07
May
09

Anna Alexandrovna’s quilt finished…

…and on the way to Moscow at the end of the week. It turned out beautifully, thanks to Mom’s skilled hands. Thanks, Mom! And thank you to my wonderful former Russian language professor, Juliette Stapanian Apkarian for delivering it to Anna Alexandrovna–we hope she likes it.

Anna Alexandrovna's quilt

01
May
09

“Red Sky, Black Death” bookstore event Wed. May 6, 7pm

On Wednesday, May 6, at 7pm, Nashville’s excellent independent bookstore Davis-Kidd is co-hosting a book signing with Nashville’s NPR affiliate, Nashville Public Radio.

It’s in conjunction with a weeklong fundraiser for WPLN (all sales benefit the station). I’m obviously a big fan of WPLN–not only for the high-quality reporting, but because I often produce radio features for the station.

I’ll be reading a few very short excerpts from Anna Alexandrovna’s memoir, adding a few illuminating facts for historical context. (How many Soviet citizens died during WWII? How many women flew in combat during the war?) And we’ll briefly explore the question of what makes a person a hero. (Are heroes superhuman?) Come see us! It’s gluten-free.

Thank you Davis-Kidd and WPLN for the opportunity!

See the promotional materials below:

 

WPLN newsletterdk-2

01
May
09

Anna Alexandrovna’s quilt in progress!

To all those of you at the WAI conference (and others) who signed and wrote notes on some mysterious beige-colored cloth squares, you’ll be glad to know that my diligent and talented mom is hard at work assembling the “quilt of well-wishers.” It’s looking quite fantastic so far:

 

The quilt top, just sewn together

The quilt top, just sewn together

A little more than fifty people signed the quilt, including dozens of female military, commercial, and general aviation pilots, several of our illustrious “WASP” superstars (Women Air Force Service Pilots–WWII woman veterans who ferried military planes during the war), the Russian lady pilots who traveled to the Atlanta conference, and various folks who were involved with putting this translation/edition of RSBD together. 

Thanks, Mom, for your work and creativity, and let’s hope we can get Anna Alexandrovna this lovely gift sometime this summer.

30
Apr
09

Essay in “Aviation for Women” magazine

 

May/June issue, table of contents

May/June issue, table of contents

 

 The inimitable Amy Laboda, editor of “Aviation for Women” magazine, most kindly gave me the opportunity to write an essay for the magazine about how I came to co-translate and edit “Red Sky Black Death.” My winding path to RSBD began and culminated with Women in Aviation, International’s annual conference, as you’ll discover on the “About the Editor” page on this site, which is a basic summary of the story in WAI’s magazine. 

If Amy gives me the thumbs up, I’ll post the article on this site once the next issue comes out.

WAI’s magazine goes out to its 7,000+ membership, which includes “astronauts, corporate pilots, maintenance technicians, air traffic controllers, business owners, educators, journalists, flight attendants, high school and university students, air show performers, airport managers and many others.” (from their website)  It’s a great opportunity to get the word out about Anna Alexandrovna’s wonderful story–to a group of women with amazing life histories of their own.

Thank you, Amy Laboda!

09
Mar
09

“Red Sky, Black Death” Unveiling Party in Nashville

 

Colleen's Creativity at Work

Around noon on Monday, March 2, I met my wonderful friends Mike and Colleen DeGregory at Mirror–their ultra-cool restaurant in the 12South neighborhood of Nashville. Mom and Mike headed to the Russian market for deli meat and cheese while Colleen and I ironed miles of red felt and arranged the dining room for a cocktail-style party. While Colleen made magic in the front of the house, Michael produced a magnificent Russian feast: mounds of Russian-style “Olivier” salad, marinated “Korean” carrots, buttery potato pancakes, and buckwheat blini (small pancakes) batter–an insane recipe which required around 237 distinct steps and lengthy proofing periods. Mom and I ran backup–Mom operating the dishwashing machine, and me peeling eggs and flipping potato pancakes. The four of us quickly tore through Michaels’s secret stash of red caviar from the Russian market. (Potato pancakes topped with dill sour cream and salmon caviar will change your life.)

CenterpiecesBy 5pm, the room was all festive Soviet dignity, if you can imagine that. Bold red banners framed the book cover art and hung from the ceiling, and centerpieces of red felt, Soviet military hats, lemons, and pine needles decorated every table. The Red Army Band’s earnest wartime ballads issued from the sound system.

After rushing home to shower and change into the lovely dress my co-translator Margarita sent me last year from Moscow, I returned to Mirror around 15 minutes before launch time–to find that several people had already arrived early. Was this the moment I stopped worrying that nobody was going to show up? I’m not sure, because the whirlwind quickly descended.

 

Kim and Carrie

Kim and Carrie

After signing the first copy for my dear friend Carrie, I turned to esteemed poet Bill Brown, my high school English teacher, and my accomplished author friend Robert Benson for help. “What,” I asked them, “is the protocol for signing a book of which I’m not technically the author?” 

“I’ve seen people sign newly edited editions of the Bible that they worked on,” said Robert. “If somebody can sign the Bible, I’m thinking you can sign this.”

So I quit worrying and started having a good time.

After an hour, I finally looked up from my little signing table and took in my surroundings: a room full of friends enjoying the wonderful party Mike and Colleen had made, standing in line to buy books from my mom, and taking turns sitting down to chat with me. Mike fried blini to order, dressed in a Russian military uniform and Soviet Air Force cap, while Colleen mixed the most deliciously evil cocktails, with names like “Jewel of the Tsar.”

 

Dad intros me

My sweet Dad introduces me

Other friends pitched in to help: Elizabeth Brock drove in from Memphis, repre-sent-ing in a big furry hat; my husband Hal and Michael Fenswick ran plates and backed up Mike in the kitchen; and Dad worked the room with supreme dexterity, looking dapper in his black jacket and t-shirt, and introducing me with the perfect mix of humor, grace, and a true showman’s sense of drama. 

Mom and Dad, Hal and I, Mike, Colleen, Elizabeth, and everyone else who counts deemed the event a roaring success. Folks said they never realized Russian food was so delicious, and the Russians present declared Mike’s work to be a masterful rendition of the real thing. And did I mention? We sold out of books–75 to be exact.

Not that that 75 books exactly shoots RSBD onto the NYTimes bestseller list; but that’s OK. That’s not what it’s about. To me, it’s about sharing Anna Yegorova’s life story with a few people at a time, spreading the word about this extraordinary woman’s accomplishments and sacrifices, and hopefully passing on a little bit of that enjoyment and fascination I felt as I worked on this thrilling project.

And if we can throw in an excuse to eat blini and caviar and sip shimmering red vodka cocktails with wonderful friends–that’s icing.

 

To read the first review of the book, please see:

Alina avatarAlina’s post on Armchair General.com


 A short video of the event, from Margie Maddux Newman’s “Vidalicious” blog:

 

Colleen mixes a "Jewel of the Tsar"

Colleen mixes a "Jewel of the Tsar"

 

Mike D. makes blini to order

Mike D. flips blini to order

 

Mom sells books in her "RSBD" t-shirt

Mom sells books in her "RSBD" t-shirt

 

Me with pilots & Russophiles Nikki Mitchell and Elizabeth Brock

Me with pilots & Russophiles Nikki Mitchell and Elizabeth Brock

 

 

Folks line up for more blini

Folks line up for more blini

 

Thank you, DeGregorys! You are amazing!!!

Evening's end: Thank you, DeGregorys! You are amazing!!!

04
Mar
09

Women in Aviation, International Conference 2009

WAI emblemOn Thursday, February 25th, I held the first copies of Red Sky, Black Death in my hands. My friend Elizabeth Brock (who helped immensely with funding my conference trip and helped sponsor four Russian women pilots to attend) jumped up and down with me as we opened the box of 35 beautiful books. And when our four Russian friends, Khalide and Valentina (Pres. and VP of Aviatrissa, the Moscow women pilots’ club), Galina and Alexandra (glider pilot and parachutist) got a load of the books, they jumped up and down with us all over again.

Galina, Valentina, Elizabeth, Alexandra, and Khalide

Galina, Valentina, Elizabeth, Alexandra, and Khalide

There wasn’t time for too much celebration. On Friday, we unveiled the book at the WAI Author’s Table. I shared space with a wonderful author named Liz Moscrop, who wrote “The 100 Greatest Women in Aviation,” and we made fast friends, talking up each other’s work and exchanging books.

In an hour and a half, RSBD sold out, and Elizabeth and I started handing out cards to people who wanted to order one. Liz and I cooked up plans to do more such trips. (The 99s conference in Chicago this summer, and maybe EAA in Oshkosh!) 

On Friday night the Russian ladies, translator and future military pilot Fidan Thornberg, and I did a brief presentation on the book for many dozens of fabulous young women in flight suits at a

WAPS Pearl Judd, Vi Cowden, Valentina, and Fidan

WASP Pearl Judd and Vi Cowden; Valentina and Fidan

reception hosted by WMA, the Women’s Military Association. After a quick talk about Anna Yegorova’s life, the pilots surrounded our Russian friends, thrilled to shake their hands and pepper them with questions about the Russian combat veterans. Two of the WASP–our own famous American WWII veteran ferry pilots–swapped pins with Khalide, posed for photos, and ordered the next available copies of RSBD.

Saturday night, Khalide represented Anna Yegorova as she was inducted into the WAI Hall of Fame at the conference awards banquet. I was thrilled to escort her as she stood to accept Ms. Yegorova’s plaque and a bouquet of roses.

Kim and Khalide at the awards banquet

Kim and Khalide at the awards banquet

We then retired to the room, utterly exhausted from the week, to pack up our “bardak” (Russian for “chaos”) and share a red wine toast. Khalide presented me with a large marine-themed snow globe, a rather odd and impossibly heavy gift given to conference attendees by one of the sponsors. “This is a gift to you straight from the depths of my soul,” she deadpanned, parodying the famous Russian gift for effusive toasts and gift-giving. “It is like tearing away a part of myself to part with this.” 

We laughed and talked until far too late and exchanged a number of actual hearfelt gifts, including a marvelous book of photos and articles detailing the history of the Aviatrissa club. Elizabeth and I even found a few pictures of ourselves in there. And at the end of the night, they also presented me with the perfect Russian gift–medicine, known to Americans as “vodka,” in a cylindrical container made to look like a birch tree. “This is for your book event in Nashville,” they told me solemnly. The birch tree is a ubiquitous presence in and a symbol of Russia, and it was Anna Yegorova’s call sign when she flew–the original Russian title of RSBD is, “I am ‘Birch Tree.’ How do you hear me?”

After no sleep whatsoever, Elizabeth and I dropped off the Russian ladies at the airport on Sunday morning, in abysmal weather, and hit the snowy road, We barely beat the icy front that was assaulting the East Coast–one last gift from the Russians.  Somehow, we made it home, slept a little, and prepared ourselves for the big event in Nashville the following day…

 

 

Underdressed for the snowy drive home from Atlanta

Underdressed for the snowy drive home from Atlanta

11
Feb
09

“Red Sky, Black Death” finally published! Upcoming events in Nashville and Atlanta

In the first weeks of January, the editors at Slavica and I (editor / co-translator, Kim Green) scrambled to put the finishing touches on the manuscript–formatting a gorgeous layout of Anna Yegorova’s photographs and an insert of four WWII-era maps featuring the changing battle lines along the Eastern Front. Slavica sent the manuscript to the printer last month, and the first copies should ship by February 25th.

 

Women in Aviation, International ConferenceWAI

In the last week of February, my co-translator Margarita Ponomariova and I will finally unveil the book for hundreds of lady pilots in Atlanta, GA, at the annual “Women in Aviation, International” conference, where Anna Yegorova will be inducted into the organization’s pioneering women pilots’ Hall of Fame.

 

Book Release Event in Nashville

On March 2, “Red Sky…” premieres in my hometown of Nashville, TN. Mirror Restaurant chef-owners Colleen and Michael DeGregory are hosting a book-release party, featuring Michael’s creative take on Russian appetizers, Soviet-style music and decor, and of course, the book. It should be a fun celebration of all things Russian, and all are welcome.

Mirror

 

What: Russian-flavored Book Release Party

When: Monday, March 2, 6-8pm

Where: Mirror Restaurant, 2317 12th Avenue S., Nashville, TN, 37204




Buy this book

To order copies of this book, call, fax, or email Slavica Publishers.
(They offer a 10% discount for 1 copy, 20% for 2 or more.)
Slavica Publishers
1-877-SLAVICA

fx 1-812-856-4187

slavica@indiana.edu


Also available on amazon.com

Blog Stats

  • 23,686 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 16 other followers


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: