russian-ukrainian war

Chytomo and PEN Ukraine launched a project about writers and journalists on the war


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The Ukrainian cultural and publishing media Chytomo and PEN Ukraine launched the online media project featuring interviews with writers and journalists who became soldiers or volunteers following the Russian invasion. The project is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).


The project is called “Words and Bullets”, referring to the ‘weapons’ that the writers and journalists used until February 24 and those which they were forced to take in hand after Russia invaded.

Four interviews are already available in English:

“Ukrainian authors often say that they cannot write literary texts today, that the reality around them is so jaded, full of pain and loss, and at the same time – of courage and devotion that literature will not be able to convey and contain it,” said Executive Director of PEN Ukraine Tetiana Teren. Today, Ukraine is fighting for its independence and identity, and authors and journalists are, of course, also actively involved in this fight. Our special project is designed to capture such events, emotions and awareness that our heroes go through today”.


The writers and journalists featured in this project all see their lives as divided into a “before and after”. The explosions that rocked Ukrainian cities on Feb. 24 forever changed their personal trajectories. Some left their homes and rushed to save children or elderly parents, others joined the volunteer movement that helps supply the Ukrainian army, and many joined the Ukrainian territorial defense forces or the Armed Forces of Ukraine. 


“During our interviews, we explore what motivated them to make such decisions, how they are living through these most difficult times for our country, and whether words make sense when bullets fly overhead,” Project Coordinator Natalia Korniienko said.


The project will last four months, from June to October 2022, during which more than ten interviews with authors and journalists who became soldiers or volunteers due to the war will be published in Chytomo.


“Texts will inevitably be born from these «words and bullets» in the future, and now our task is to remind the world what we are fighting for, to capture and testify to let the whole world know about Russia’s crimes against our country and our culture,” Teren said.


Today, Artem Chekh, Artem Chapeye, Valery Markus, Illarion Pavlyuk, Oleksandr Mykhed, Anatoliy Dnistrovy, Oleg Sentsov, Bohdan Kolomiychuk, Michael Schur, Vakhtang Kipiani, Dmytro Krapyvenko, and others have joined the active struggle for the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Active volunteering is carried out by: Serhiy Zhadan, Andriy Lyubka, Kateryna Kalytko, Victoria Amelina, Kateryna Mikhalitsyna, etc. More than a dozen of them will become heroes of the Words and Bullets project.


The interviews with Artem Chapeye, Dmytro Krapyvenko, Halyna Kruk, Anatoliy Dnistrovy, and Oleksiy Sinchenko are already available in Ukrainian. The interviews with Artem Chapeye, Dmytro Krapyvenko, and Halyna Kruk are also available in English. Others are coming soon.


Editor: Jared Goyette