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Memorial for the dead, Kyiv, March 2023

NIGHT TRAIN TO ODESA 


"an antidote to the cynicism of war" 
"jam-packed with vivid insight and empathy"

" a powerful insight into what it’s like to go it alone in a conflict zone."

Published 2nd May 2024 with Polygon

RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK: 3-7 June

For bookings and media enquiries contact Birlinn

 
 
 

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EVENTS

'The Human Cost of Russia's War', 27th June

Ukrainian Cathedral, London. Moderator: Lindsey Hilsum. 

Tickets via On Frontline

Byline Festival, 7th July

Dartington Hall, Devon. Details to come - check Byline

Women in Journalism book talk, 18th July

Waterstones Dundee, 6pm - Tickets

Book talk in York, 24th July - TBC

Generations: Allan Little & Jen Stout, 13th August 
Edinburgh International Book Festival

Tickets     SOLD OUT!

 

Beyond Borders International Festival, 25th August

Kirkcudbright Fringe, 7th September

Tickets 

'Memory and History in the Highlands & Islands and Central & Eastern Europe', 11th September  (online)

 In conversation with Professor David Worthington, head of UHI’s Centre for History. 

Tickets 

WayWORD  Festival, Aberdeen, 24th-29th September

Wigtown Book Festival,  27th September - 6th October

Cove and Kilcreggan Book Festival, 23rd-24th November

St Andrew's Book Festival,  25 November - 1 December

For bookings and media enquiries contact Birlinn

 
 

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reviews

"‘Night Train to Odesa’ is a remedy for reading about wartime despair... Stout’s openness about her preparations for traveling deeper into Ukraine, and her candidness about moments of personal vulnerability when speaking to Ukrainians about the ways in which they are victims of Russia’s war, is both admirable and vital to the growing literature on wartime reporting."  Kyiv Independent

"a luminous love letter to an embattled nation, as it resists the Kremlin’s imperial takeover. Volodymyr Zelenskiy does not appear. Its heroes are regular Ukrainians. Stout writes about them with an extraordinary and heartfelt empathy, as they do their best to live amid bombs and to survive." The Observer

"a gripping first-hand account [of] front lines to beseiged cities, from bombed-out basements to the homes and hospitality of the victims of war" The Sunday Post 

 

"Stout writes admirably, with intelligence, sympathy and understanding. It is a celebration of love, courage and care for others; hers is a world in which kindness holds its own" The Scotsman 

"The figure she cuts – a tiny powerhouse in an over-sized flak jacket doggedly making her way from one bombed-out city to the next – is as poignant as it is impressive." Big Issue

"A book that plays havoc with the emotions. Accounts of heartbreaking suffering are balanced against acts of incredible kindness and humanity, often coming from the most unexpected quarters."  Bookmunch

 

"Jen Stout is very brave. And she is a storyteller of supreme gifts. She has travelled through the war without the backup and financial support that comes with working for the big media organisations. I am in awe of her resourcefulness and courage."  

Fergal Keane, BBC special correspondent

"Jam-packed with vivid insight and empathy, journalism that’s full of heart."  

Paraic O'Brien, Channel 4 foreign correspondent 

"The brutality of the war in Ukraine is told with great empathy, compassion and skill by Jen Stout in Night Train to Odessa. She shows not only great courage in her reporting on the ground, but the immense human cost of war, told with passion and clarity, seeking to understand the larger pattern of Vladimir Putin's war not only on Ukraine, but on democracy and the global order." 

Janine di Giovanni, author and war correspondent

"Jen Stout's heart-seizing account of Ukraine at war brings us that nation's living presence like no other book. She puts across not just the tragedy but the astonishing vigour and colour of a people determined to live generously and joyfully under bombardment. 'Night Train' is three-dimensional: Jen Stout's book is not just a report of darkened cities and piteous survivors, but a highly personal journal of one young Scot's first experiences of war. As a freelance journalist, speaking Russian and learning Ukrainian, she found vivid friendships near the front line and in Ukraine's magnificent battered but majestic cities. Not all of those friends survived. It's not just Jen's reporting but the way she chronicles her own turbulent feelings which make 'Night Train to Odesa' so moving and unforgettable." 

Neal Ascherson, journalist, author, expert on central and eastern Europe

"Jen Stout's reporting on the Russian war on Ukraine has become known for her striking portrayals of the reality of survival and loss in wartime. In Night Train to Odesa she connects us intimately to the story of a nation rising in defiance. She weaves deep sympathy for the human struggle with a layered understanding of history, politics, and the complex loyalties of a society under threat. In evocative portraits from homes, battlefields, rattling buses and trains we see the determination, solidarity, heartache and humour of a people at war."

Dr Angus Bancroft, Professor of Sociology, University of Edinburgh

 

"Jen Stout tells the story of her time covering war-torn Ukraine with clarity and a deep compassion for those whose lives are being destroyed. Her vivid descriptions and affinity with the places she visits mean we travel along with her, sharing in the sights and sounds as our understanding deepens. Written by a young woman who set off with little more than a love of the country and a determination to chart its fate, Night Train to Odesa also gives a powerful insight into what it’s like to go it alone in a conflict zone. A must-read for anyone interested in the impact of the Russian invasion." 

Dani Garavelli, journalist and columnist

"Jen Stout is a wondrous young writer from the Shetland Islands, bursting with humanity, boundless curiosity and an unrelenting enthusiasm for life. Stout has a rare gift for rendering moments in time, and her descriptions of nature, season and landscape are beautifully etched, often hauntingly so. This is the work of a writer with an exciting future ahead of her." 

Jon Lee Anderson, New Yorker staff writer

"Night Train to Odessa vividly brings to life the realities of Ukraine at war, in all its complex humanity and history. Jen Stout is everything you could want in a guide: generous, warm, perspicacious. Her writing fizzes with energy, passion and, above all, compassion for the characters she meets whose lives have been turned upside down by a conflict they never wanted yet are forced to live through."

Peter Geoghegan, author and journalist

‘A celebration of Ukraine and a lament for it. This extraordinary book may have been written in compassion and anger, but the note that rings out is love’

Peter Ross, author of Tomb with a View

"Night Train to Odesa’ is a thrilling read. Rich in reportage and infused with a deep knowledge of Ukraine, it is a masterful book from one of the best young journalists in Britain."
David Patrikarakos, foreign correspondent

‘Jen Stout’s great achievement is to tell the stories of ordinary people in extraordinarily difficult and dangerous circumstances. Night Train to Odesa is by turns sad and inspiring – and unfailingly fascinating’
James Rodgers, academic and journalist, Reader at City University


"This book is the perfect riposte to the arm chair experts who insist they know about Russia’s war in Ukraine. It’s also the kind of old school reportage that has never been more vital in these troubled times when click bait is meant to suffice. It’s up close, personal, and beautifully written in a style that is both searing and intimate. There are real echoes here of that other great war reportage classic, The Face of War, by Martha Gellhorn"
David Pratt, Photojournalist and Contributing Foreign Editor, The Herald and The National. 

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