books about Ukraine

A collection of letters from Ukrainians compiled by Le Devoir journalist is released in Canada


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On Wednesday, Feb. 28, the book “Letters from Ukraine” (“Lettres d’Ukraine”) was released in Montreal. A project was initiated and led by Magdaline Boutros, a journalist of Le Devoir, one of the major French-speaking newspapers in Quebec.


A few weeks before the full-scale Russian invasion, Magdaline Boutros and photographer Valérian Mazataud reported from Ukraine where they were visiting the regions of Kyiv, Donetsk, and Kharkiv. During their stay, they met many Ukrainians at a time when tensions were running high.


To elucidate the shocking and brutal invasion of Russia to the French-speaking audience, Magdaline decided to publish nine letters from Ukrainians written in spring 2022 by notable figures and lesser-known residents of various cities of Ukraine. Among them were Tetiana Burak who survived Mariupol’s occupation, soldier Valentyn Ilchuk who is writing to his little daughter, Maryna Khromukh, the director of the DEJURE Foundation, and Ukrainian writer Ivan Baidak.


The foreword to the book was written by Oleksandra Romantsova, Executive Director of the Center for Civil Liberties in Kyiv and co-recipient of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. The afterword is by Yevhen Choliy, the Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Montreal.



The presentation took place at Le Port de tête bookstore, where the publisher also launched its other book, “Singapore. Laboratory of the Future” (“Singapour. Laboratoire de l’avenir”) by Alexis Riopel and Valérian Mazataud.


Magdaline Boutros said that she received full support for her idea to publish the book; Le Devoir immediately agreed to publish it with their publishing partner Somme toute.


The director of Somme toute, Serge Théroux, aims to publish the book in Ukraine as well, and he is looking for a publisher willing to make “Letters from Ukraine” available to Ukrainian readers.


The book was translated into French by Rostyslav Nyemetsev and Andréanne Bédard. Nyemtsev’s translation of Volodymyr Vakulenko’s diary “The First Days of Occupation. Last Days of Volodymyr” will be published in March 2024 by Hashtag Publishing House. Vakulenko was the Ukrainian children’s writer tortured and killed by the Russians in 2022 in Izyum, near Kharkiv.



Le Devoir is a French-language newspaper published in Montreal and distributed in Quebec and throughout Canada. It reaches 1,294,000 readers per week.


Somme toute is a publishing house in Montreal. It publishes books about arts, Quebec society, and the cultural history of Quebec.


Editing: Tetyana Mykhaylychenko