Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Voices of Freedom


Voices of Freedom: Contemporary Writing from Ukraine
ed. by Kateryna Kazimirova & Daryna Anastasieva
Winston-Salem, NC: 8th & Atlas Publishing, c2022.
314 p.

This is another collection of varied writing from Ukraine, published 6 months after the invasion of the country, raising money for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. It was a joint effort between 8th & Atlas Publishing and Ukraine based Craft Magazine, and highlights some of the best Ukrainian writing of the past 50 years.

It contains excerpts from 27 writers, with a slight majority of male writers represented. The pieces are essays, poems, and short stories, and as the publisher puts it, "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 is a central preoccupation of Ukrainian society."

I think that the collection meets this goal quite effectively. No matter whether a writer is talking about an earlier Revolution or conflict, or directly referencing the current war, the words are illuminating, powerful, and full of current meaning. I appreciated that there was a small bio of each writer prior to their work, giving some info on them and context as to their place in Ukrainian literature. There was also info given on each translator, which was another nice element, as these translators are doing a huge job sharing work into other languages - there are many names I've seen elsewhere with other newly translated work. 

There is a wide range of voices here, showing off different styles, topics and literary schools. It's a great way to become more familiar not only with new young writers but some of the older ones who've been writing throughout past years of Soviet rule and the struggles of a newly independent country. It includes some of my favourites, like Oksana Zabuzhko and Lyuba Yakimchuk, as well as some names I hadn't read before. 

Another fabulous collection to look out for if you are interested in expanding your knowledge of the writers working in Ukraine now. Their many perspectives on the past and present will also expand your understanding of the reasons behind and effects of the current war.

You can get a taste of the book by watching the book trailer, which includes 4 of the poems from the book, on YouTube: 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by ~ I always enjoy hearing your comments so please feel free to leave some!