Jurga Vilé

Jurga Vilė was born in 1977 in Vilnius, Lithuania, and grew up in the old part of the city, which was mystic and mysterious in the late Soviet era. In 1990, when Vilė was 13 years old, Lithuania gained its independence. The liberal spirit of the new era shaped and influenced her and her generation. Vilė studied at the University of Vilnius, earned a bachelor’s degree in French philology, and then moved to Paris to study film science and audiovisual media at the University of Sorbonne III. In 2000, Jurga Vilė went to New York to write her thesis on film archiving and restoration. There, she worked in the Anthology Film Archives, a Mecca for avant-garde films, for a couple of years. She began recording sounds and filmed first with an eight-millimeter camera, and later digitally. After her return to Vilnius, Vilė worked as a script supervisor for various film productions, as coordinator and responsible for translations at film festivals and as a freelance journalist for cultural magazines.

Between 2008 and 2018 she lived in southern Spain. During this time she wrote her first graphic novel »Sibiro Haiku« (2017; tr: Siberian Haiku), which was illustrated by Lina Itagaki and deals with the deportation of Lithuanians to Siberia under Soviet occupation. In it, Vilė tells the story of her father: One morning in June 1941, Algiukas and his family are awakened by Russian soldiers who order them to prepare for their departure. The boy is about eight years old, and his parents and big sister don’t know where they are being sent and how long they will stay there. They have ten minutes to get ready. At the station, the men are separated from their families. Algiukasʼ Aunt has taken a book with Japanese haikus with her. In a foreign country, she tries again and again to pull the deportees out of despair and to find beauty even under the most adverse conditions. »Sibiro Haiku«, which has been awarded the 2018 Children’s Book of the Year in Lithuania and translated into several languages, not only includes references to Japanese culture in the story it tells, but also in its narrative poetry. In 2019 Vilė published her second children’s book »Švelnumo fabrikėlis« (tr: In the Velvet Forest) about the intricate, secret world of the forest, which encourages children to discover the magic of plants.

Vilė has also been translating from French, English, and Spanish for almost twenty years. She lives in Vilnus.