As some of you might know, or remember, I have been working on updating my grandmother’s memoir Upheaval to include explanatory notes and her diary from 1919. Upheaval describes my grandmother, Olga Woronoff’s life as a young aristocrat in Imperial Russia and details the impact of the Russian Revolution and subsequent Civil War on her and her naval officer husband, Paul Woronoff, my grandfather. I realised that her memoir, although poignantly written, would leave many people wondering about some of the details. So I decided to produce a 2nd edition which would answer most of the questions that readers might have.
Late last year I completed this challenging but worthwhile piece of work. With the help of friends, I researched many of the people, places and events my grandmother mentioned in her book, which was originally published in 1932. I added footnotes to explain who the people were, where the places were located and if my grandmother remembered things accurately or not. Some of my research was accomplished by sifting through documents or letters already in my possession and some by searching through various websites. I discovered so much new information!
I added in my grandmother’s diary as an Appendix to the manuscript. 1919 was the last full year my grandparents lived in Russia and it was chaotic, brutal and emotional as the country was torn by Civil War. My grandmother’s diary entries describe their attempts to continue a “normal” life against the backdrop of war.
I have been lucky to have been granted permission by the State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF) to include the correspondence between my grandmother and the Grand Duchesses. I have chose to limit these entries (also in an Appendix) to the correspondence between my grandmother and the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana. It is moving to read their letters and notes, often on such ordinary happenings.
I am also very grateful to Helen Azar who wrote a delightful Foreword to this edition, with intimate details of the feelings Grand Duchess had for my grandfather. Helen is an expert on the Romanovs and has translated the diaries of the Grand Duchesses as well as writing other works on the Imperial Family, and maintaining websites and a YouTube channel with information about them.
I had planned to self-publish, however I have been encouraged to first attempt to find either an agent or a publisher for this manuscript. So that is now the plan. I have a list and have created a spreadsheet of potential places to send my pitch. If I have no success, there is still the opportunity to self-publish later. I will keep you posted!