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A Conversation: Writing’s Role in Ukraine Today

March 26, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Join us for an in-depth conversation about the distinctive and rich Ukrainian writing tradition and the people behind the news living and working on the edge amid the country’s fight for freedom.

Discussion with editors and contributors of the recently published collection Voices of Freedom: Contemporary Writing from Ukraine will be followed by a viewing of a short film featuring the writers in their own words.

Voices of Freedom: Contemporary Writing From Ukraine introduces the English-speaking world to some of the most iconic living writers whose work is shaping contemporary Ukraine. It demonstrates the unique style and artistry of contemporary Ukrainian literature drawing from the work over the past 50 years of living writers who continue to shape the country’s mentality and identity. Through poetry, short stories, and essays, this collection demonstrates that the desire for freedom and the struggle to achieve it is a theme that cuts across generations of Ukrainian writers and remains a central preoccupation of Ukrainian society.

Light refreshments will be served.


Kateryna Kazimirova is an editor and media manager. She holds Master’s degrees in Philology (Ukrainian Language and Literature) and History of Art and a Postgraduate degree in Literary Theory. Her Ph.D. program in Literary Theory was disrupted when Russian forces occupied the city in 2014. Kateryna was forced to become an internally displaced person, relocating to Kyiv, where she spent the last 8 years developing media and digital projects. In December 2020, she launched a cultural journal dedicated to publishing in-depth interviews with the most prominent creative Ukrainians to reveal to the world the leading voices of modern, free Ukraine – Craft Magazine. In November Kateryna published an anthology Voices of Freedom: Contemporary Writing From Ukraine (co-edited with Daryna Anastasieva.)

Michael DeParis is Co-founder and Editorial Director for 8th & Atlas Publishing, an independent press he started with his two siblings in 2020. Michael co-manages the production, design, and accounting departments and, as a Publisher, takes part in the full publication cycle. He specialized in English Literature and Computer Science at North Carolina State University and has extensive experience managing large-scale entertainment events. He participates in local writing workshops and reading series and is currently writing his debut novel. The press was launched to amplify vital and engaging fiction and non-fiction works that resonate with broad and subgenre readers. 8th & Atlas Publishing takes pride in its commitment to offering a platform to first-time writers as well as supporting well-established authors, so each book it publishes shines internationally.

Virlana Tkacz heads the Yara Arts Group and has directed almost forty original shows at La MaMa Theatre in New York, as well as in Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Bishkek, Ulaanbaatar, and Ulan Ude. She has received an NEA Poetry Translation Fellowship for her translations with Wanda Phipps. They have also received the Agni Poetry Translation Prize, the National Theatre Translation Fund Award, and thirteen translation grants from the New York State Council on the Arts. What We Live For / What We Die For: Selected Poems by Serhiy Zhadan, with translations by Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps, was published by Yale University Press in 2019. Their translations have also appeared in many literary journals and anthologies, and are integral to the theatre pieces created by Yara Arts Group.

Vasyl Makhno is a Ukrainian poet, prose writer, essayist, and translator (b.1964, Chortkiv), Makhno is the author of fourteen collections of poetry, the most recent of which is One Sail House (2021). Two poetry collections, Thread and Other New York Poems (2009) and Winter Letters (2011), have appeared in English, and a third, Paper Bridge (2022), was published by Plamen Press in English translation by Olena Jennings. Makhno is the recipient of Kovaliv Fund Prize (2008, USA), Serbia’s International Povele Morave Prize in Poetry (2013), the BBC Book of the Year Award (Ukraine, 2015), and the 2020 “Encounter: The Ukrainian-Jewish Literary Prize™” for his first novel Vichnyi Kalendar (The Eternal Calendar).

Featured in the Film:

Ivan Andrusiak is a poet, author of children’s books, novelist, literary critic, and translator (b.1968, Ivano-Frankivsk region). Andrusiak co-founded a group in the 1990s called New Degeneration, which had a considerable influence on Ukrainian literature. Andrusyak is acclaimed as one of the leading poets of the 1990s generation. He designed his own discernible poetic manner based on the use of metaphors and dense symbolism. Since 2005, Ivan Andrusiak has turned to children’s literature, where he experiments with genres and forms. Since 2014, Andrusiak has been the main editor of the Fontan Kazok publishing house (Fountain of Fairy Tales), which specializes in books for children. Andrusiak’s work has received several prizes and has been translated into twelve languages. In 2013, his book Eight Days from the Life of Burunduk was listed in the renowned White Raven catalog of the best children’s books worldwide. He lives in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Svitlana Povalyaeva is a writer, poet, journalist, and public activist (b.1974). Born in a Russian-speaking family in Kyiv, Povalyaeva grew up as a rebellious Ukrainian writer and became one of the most notable representatives of the aught generation of Ukrainian literature. The author of seven prose books, a poetry collection, and a book for children, she began her work by writing youth subculture novels, developing the theme of freedom and protest against consumerist society. In 2018, she published her first poetry collection Pіslya Krymu (After Crimea)—deep and poignant poems in which the themes of war, the passage of time, memory, and homeland are closely intertwined with the theme of love and sensuality. Povalyaeva’s essence as an artist is deeply connected with her activism. She took part in three Ukrainian revolutions: The Revolution on Granite (1990), The Orange Revolution (2004), and The Revolution of Dignity (2014). Since the first days of the war, she has been actively involved in volunteer activities helping civilians. On June 8, 2022, her youngest son Roman Ratushnyi—a prominent activist who fought corruption and illegal construction in Kyiv and became a soldier of the 93rd brigade “Kholodny Yar”— died in battle at the age of 25 with the Russian invaders in the Eastern Kharkiv region. Svitlana Povalyaeva continues to support various cultural causes in his memory.

Ivan Malkovych is a poet, editor, and publisher (b.1961, Ivano-Frankivsk region).  Malkovych is a laureate of national and European awards, in particular the highest cultural award in Ukraine—the Shevchenko National Prize in the field of literature (2017). He is the author of seven collections of poetry for adults, and has authored, edited, translated, and compiled more than thirty children’s books. Malkovych’s poems have been translated into many languages and presented in literary journals and online magazines. The founder, director, and editor-in-chief of the first private Ukrainian children’s publishing house, A-ba-baha-la-ma-ga (1992), Malkovych created the most popular book brand in Ukraine, which successfully competes on the international market. The publishing house has donated generously to the Ukrainian army, and Malkovych himself donated his Shevchenko National Prize money to families whose parents died in the war in eastern Ukraine. He lives and works in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Lyuba Yakimchuk is an award-winning young Ukrainian poet, as well as a screenwriter and journalist (b.1985). She is the author of several full-length poetry collections, including Iak Moda (Like Fashion, 2009) and Abrykosy Donbasu (Apricots of Donbas, 2015), and the film script for “Slovo” House: Unfinished Novel (2021), about Ukrainian artists persecuted by the totalitarian system against the backdrop of the Holodomor famine. Her writing has appeared in European and American magazines and has been translated into twenty languages. At the 2022 Grammy Awards, she performed her poem “Prayer” in English as part of John Legend’s performance of his song “Free.” Yakimchuk has been personally affected by war: she lost her family home in the small town of Pervomaisk in Luhansk region, which borders Russia, and which Russian military forces occupied in 2014. Starting from her collection Apricots of Donbas to her latest work, her poetry embodies the story of a woman facing life’s changing traumatic situation for her family, her hometown, and her country.

A Conversation: Writing’s Role in Ukraine Today


March 26, 2023
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category: