Ukrainian literature in translation

Following on from my recent post about new English-language acquisitions relating to modern Ukrainian history, I wanted to highlight a small sample of our holdings of modern Ukrainian literature in translation. (Click on the titles below to be taken to the record in iDiscover.)

One author whose works have gradually made their way into English translation is Oksana Zabuzhko, who has won a number of awards, including the Shevchenko National Prize. Her output spans novels, short stories, poetry, and non-fiction; we have recently acquired both her short story collection Your Ad Could Go Here and her Selected Poems, both of which appeared in English for the first time in 2020, and both of which are the work of multiple translators.

The stories in Your Ad Could Go Here deal with the Euromaidan protests and the war with Russia since 2014. Other literary responses to the conflict include Lyuba Yakimchuk’s book of poetry, Apricots of Donbas; Volodymyr Rafeyenko’s novel Mondegreen : Songs About Death and Love; and Oleg Sentsov’s short story collection, Life Went on Anyway. Each author has been personally affected by the war: Lyuba Yakimchuk’s parents and sister were forced to flee their home in the Luhansk region when it was occupied by Russian-backed militants; Volodymyr Rafeyenko moved from his native Donetsk to near Kyiv at the outbreak of war; and Oleg Sentsov was arrested on terrorism charges in Crimea in 2014 and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment (he was released in a prisoner swap in 2019).

Another writer whose works we hold in translation is Yuri Andrukhovych. Like Oksana Zabuzhko, he does not restrict himself to a single literary format; we have recently acquired My Final Territory (a selection of essays: in the introduction he writes that essays are his favourite genre), and his Songs for a Dead Rooster. The latter is a book of poetry, published as part of Lost Horse Press’s Contemporary Ukrainian Poetry series, of which the library holds the complete set: other titles include Mykola Vorobiov’s Mountain and Flower and Natalka Bilotserkivets’s Eccentric Days of Hope and Sorrow, both collections spanning several decades of work.

A final title to mention is a work of literary reportage, Olesya Yaremchuk’s Our Others: Stories of Ukrainian Diversity: “an award-winning exploration of both the histories and personal stories of fourteen ethnic minority groups living within the boundaries of present-day Ukraine: Czechs and Slovaks, Meskhetian Turks, Swedes, Romanians, Hungarians, Roma, Jews, ‘Liptaks’, Gagauzes, Germans, Vlachs, Poles, Crimean Tatars, and Armenians” (from the publisher’s description).

If you have any questions, or if you would like to recommend more Ukrainian works of literature in translation, please do get in touch with the English Collections team (engcc@lib.cam.ac.uk).

Rebecca Gower

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