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Useful 10:25 03 Mar 2021

Writer's Day: 8 modern Ukrainian works worth reading

On International Writer's Day, we reveal what the Ukrainian millennial should have on the bookshelf

Photo Getty Images

Today, March 3, is International Writer's Day. On this occasion, we decided to tell you about ten contemporary Ukrainian authors and their works: sunny stories, meditative tales, satire, requiems for historical events, and attempts to understand oneself, everything set out in a manner close to our mentality and easy for an average reader to understand.

Luko Dashvar, "Beaten Are"

The author's real name is Iryna Chernova, who started writing exclusively in Ukrainian in 2006, and before that she was a bilingual writer. All her novels deserve attention, but we wanted to highlight the novel "Paradise.Center" and the trilogy "Beaten." If you first get acquainted with the author reading these novels, the first impression of Luko is the Ukrainian Bukowski. Readers liked these editions the least, but the author herself considers the novel "Paradise.Center" her best work.

Lots of sarcasm and exposure of the truth. But then comes the realization that the entire story is permeated with light, thirst for life, and honesty of the heroes. It'll be twice as interesting for Kyiv residents: together with the characters, you'll sit on the terrace near Andriivskyi Descent, wander the streets of Podil and rush headlong to Rusanivka. All the events happen here, next to you.

Люко Дашвар,

Myroslav Laiuk, "Iron Water"

The author published his first collection of poetry at 23. Later there was prose, and this year, on the occasion of the 150th birthday of Lesya Ukrainka, the world saw a new novel "Iron Water." It's not a biographical novel, although you'll find many facts from the life of the famous writer in the story. The history of 100 years ago intersects with the present, and some moments from the book were even somehow mystically implemented in the author's life:

"It so happened that I made the last fundamental decisions about certain episodes of the novel on St. Vasylii Day this year, driving a shaky road from Kosovo through Vyzhnytsia to the "red malanka" in a village near Romania. The thing is that part of this path is depicted in the novel "Iron Water," so such accidental symbolism puzzled me a little. I traveled various segments of this road thousands of times in my life. In the novel, Lesya Ukrainka travels to the Carpathians in 1901, when she lost her lover and went for treatment to the "iron water" in Burkut, the most distant Carpathian village with a unique source," says Myroslav Laiuk.

Мирослав Лаюк,

Maryna Smahina, "Tales from the South"

To get under the southern Ukrainian sun, you don't even have to wait for summer and go anywhere. A young Ukrainian writer from Kherson managed to turn light into words and pour words on paper in the form of fairy tales and brief sketches. "Tales from the South," like a story about the Little Prince, is a must-read for adults in order not to forget that even in simple everyday situations, you can see the unusual and magical.

Марина Смагіна,

Artem Chekh, "District D"

The author's real name is Artem Cherednyk. Autobiography, grotesque, and surrealism are the salient features of Chekh's prose. One of the last books he published was "District D." A collection of autobiographical stories from different times in Artem's life received the title of the Book of the Year from the BBC in 2019.

"Perhaps, after reading 'District D,' you can release your own monsters from the dark past, lurking for every memory of their youth, adolescence, childhood," says the author Artem Chekh.

"The eerie smells of human life and decay that coexist with the eternal scents of cherries and apricots, all the beauty and ugliness of the world are intertwined in this book. It hurts and feels nice at the same time," said Marta Shokalo, a member of the jury.

Артем Чех,

Lubko Deresh, "Devastation"

The writer published his first novel at 18. Perhaps that is why the principal characters of the novels are modern teenagers. The author uses youth slang and curses in the novels, tells the stories of his characters, for which Deresh is called a modernist.

The last of the author's published books "Devastation" is called atmospheric, deep, and full of secrets. It's an unofficial anthem for millennials and intellectual nomads. It's a novel for a person who knows something about the manipulation of consciousness and meditation, about chaos and the unconscious, about "black swans" and the Beast lurking in the dark.

Любко Дереш,

Les Podervianskyi, "Hero of Our Time"

King of the Ukrainian literary underground. Coming from a family of artists, he became famous for his short stories, which he wrote in letters to friends, and grotesque plays, full of profanity, satire, and non-political correctness, which were distributed on tape and later on the Internet. The author continues to write short plays, that he voices himself and sometimes conducts public readings. If you're still unfamiliar with Les' work, you can start to get acquainted with him with the novel "Hero of Our Time," which collects the author's best works, which until recently existed only in the format of tape recordings. The author doesn't regret swear words at all and expresses his thoughts sharply, truthfully, and without embellishments.

Лесь Подерв'янський,

Oleksii Chupa, "Cherry and I"

Chupa is called the "second Zhadan"; the writers are united by the fact that they were both born and raised in Donbas, and the prose of both is devastating and true.

Before the tragic events in the East, he worked at a metallurgical plant, and in his spare time, he wrote about the everyday life of workers. The author's last edition, published in 2017, is "Cherry and I." This is a story about a relationship between a 33-year-old man and a 5-year-old girl who was abandoned by her mother. Emotional in its simplicity, the story is like a modern fairy tale; it deserves attention, especially when the sun literally shines from it because the events take place in the summer.

Олексій Чупа

Pavlo Korobchuk, "The Holy Book of Hop-Stories"

Musician, journalist, and literary critic, winner of twenty literary slams, author of six books of poetry, three books of prose, a participant in modern festivals abroad. One of the authors representing modern Ukrainian literature in the international arena. His works have been translated into English, German, Italian, Polish, Lithuanian, Belarusian, Slovak, and Russian.

His novel "The Holy Book of Hop-Stories" is a life story of three brothers who get into street vicissitudes: child abduction, real estate fraud, trafficking of internal organs, robbery of a bank and a freight train, forgery of academic degrees, house arson, parliamentary elections… The book received an informal name "Requiem for Hopniks," through which you can dive and better understand the Ukrainian "street" life.

Павло Коробчук,

Also, read our series "How to write a book"

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