Chytomo Picks

New calendar spotlights authors in Ukrainian Armed Forces ‘The Ukrainian voices should be heard’


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For several years, Ovo, Ukraine’s first literary agency, has produced a calendar showcasing both emerging and established writers, aimed at promoting their work domestically and internationally. The calendar’s publication was halted last year due to the full-scale invasion, but it has now made a comeback. This edition is particularly relevant and timely, as it highlights authors and writers who are currently serving in the Ukrainian Armed Forces.


Ovo, acknowledging the significant number of over 80 author-soldiers serving at or near the front, has adapted its calendar format. Instead of the traditional monthly approach, the new edition features 53 weekly photos, each showcasing a different author-soldier. Additionally, the calendar lists over 30 writers unable to provide photos due to the nature of their duties. This group encompasses a diverse range of literary talents, including poets like Yara Chornohuz, novelists such as Artem Chekh, and children’s book authors like Valeriy Puzik.


“And with all these photos, you see that every day you are reminded that people who have this huge talent of describing realities through books, are now serving in the armed forces,” Victoria Ma, Ovo’s founder and executive director, explained to Chytomo during the Frankfurt Book Fair.



The calendar, for sale for 4,000 UAH (103 Euros), ships both within Ukraine and internationally, and the text is in both Ukrainian and English. All proceeds will go to purchase the protective boots worn by “sappers,” or demining specialists.

Ma hopes the calendar will help raise the profile of the writers abroad.


“It’s very important that the Ukrainian voices are heard because we have our own story to tell. And it’s really important to have those authors translated,” she said. “… And what they have to tell the world is of great importance, I believe, because they know how the reality looks like, both from the point of view of an author who can tell a story, but also from a person who saw a war with his or her own eyes.

Some of the authors have already been translated into English, for example poetry of Pavlo Matiusha, Ihor Mitrov, Yaryna Chornohuz, and Liza Zharikova were published in many anthologies. Some of the prose writers have their books published in English (like Artem Chapeye “The Ukraine”, which was also published in the Newyorker or Artem Chekh “Absolute Zero”, 2020). But most of the writers still waiting to be translated, published, and discovered by foreign readers.


Read more: The Newest Ukrainian War Poems


Some images were taken by photographers, others by the soldiers themselves, depending on the circumstances. Several shots include pet dogs or cats. They are all in uniform.


“And you see, most of them are smiling. And for me, it brings hope,” Ma adds.


The calendar, while celebrating the contributions of author-soldiers, also confronts the harsh realities of war. It includes a dedicated page memorializing the more than 30 writers who have been killed by Russian forces since the full-scale invasion began.


“And so we sincerely hope that this will remind people that on an everyday basis Ukraine is paying huge, huge price,” Ma said.


This article is a part of the “Chytomo Picks: New Books from Ukraine” project. The materials have been prepared with the assistance of the Ukrainian Book Institute at the expense of the state budget. The author’s opinion may not coincide with the official position of the Ukrainian Book Institute.