Two writers who experienced first-hand the harshness of life in former Eastern bloc countries do not shy away from confronting the secrets of the past. How does this hidden past impact on life today? And what is the role of the present in their work? An interesting question when you consider that both writers come from countries at the forefront of the rise of the right, foreign interference, growing nationalism and populism.

András Forgách (Budapest, 1952) is a well-established figure in his own country and is currently attracting international attention with his latest book No Live Files Remain. The book is about his mother who, as a secret agent, spied on her own children for the regime. The English translation was the subject of a full-page article in The Guardian and the book is currently being translated for publication in more than 20 countries.
Oksana Zabuzhko (Lutsk, 1960) is one of today's most controversial Ukrainian writers. She has lectured at Harvard and attracted international attention for her novel Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex, a best seller in her own country with sales in the hundreds of thousands. The more recent The Museum of Abandoned Secrets takes a closer look at her country's tumultuous history, from the Second World War until the dark days on the eve of the Orange Revolution.

The conversation will be moderated by Peter Vermeersch, author and professor European Studies at KULeuven.