Derek Walcott Prize announces finalists, including Ukrainian poet Ostap Slyvynsky


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The “Winter King” collection by Ukrainian poet and translator Ostap Slyvynsky was shortlisted for the 2024 Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry. Vitaly Chernetsky (translator, professor, and First Vice President of the Shevchenko Scientific Society in the US) and Iryna Shuvalova (poet, translator, and scholar) translated the book for Lost Horse Press.

“I am very pleased, especially because Walcott is my favorite poet,” Ostap Slyvynsky wrote on his Facebook page after being shortlisted.


“The collection ‘Winter King’ is a book largely about war. I recently read in public some poems from an even earlier book, ‘Adam,’ from the pre-war year of 2012, and this book was also to some extent about war. Some of the poems from it were written as if they were composed today or yesterday. It was as if we were always living in a state of anticipation or even some kind of preparation. The war had always been there, ‘our life always balanced on the edge of the abyss,’ to paraphrase C.S. Lewis,” said Ostap Slyvynsky in an interview for Chytomo for the Chytomo Picks project.


The list of finalists for the prize included:

  • Antonella Anedda, “Historiae,” translated by Susan Stewart and Patrizio Ceccagnoli (NYRB)
  • Ned Denny, “Ventriloquise” (Carcanet Press)
  • Martina Evans, “The Coming Thing” (Carcanet Press)
  • Sergey Gandlevsky, “Ochre & Rust,” translated by Philip Metres (Green Linden Press)
  • Mireille Gansel, “Soul House,” translated by Joan Seliger Sidney (World Poetry Books)
  • Nick Laird, “Up Late” (Faber & Faber)
  • Michael Lavers, “The Inextinguishable” (University of Tampa Press)
  • Paula Meehan, “The Solace of Artemis” (Dedalus Press)
  • Pierre Nepveu, “The Four-Doored House,” translated by Donald Winkler (Signal Editions, Véhicule Press)
  • Erin Noteboom, “A knife so sharp its edge cannot be seen” (Brick Books)
  • Romeo Oriogun, “The Gathering of Bastards” (University of Nebraska Press)
  • Christopher Reid, “Toys / Tricks / Traps” (Faber & Faber)
  • Óscar García Sierra, “Houston, I’m the Problem” translated by Carmen Yus Quintero (World Poetry Books)
  • Ostap Slyvynsky, “Winter King,” translated by Vitaly Chernetsky and Iryna Shuvalova (Lost Horse Press)
  • Hannah Sullivan, “Was It For This” (Faber & Faber)


Esteemed writer Diane Mehta will judge this year’s prize. The winner will be announced on Oct. 15 at the fall book launch featuring new works by Sven Birkerts, Glyn Maxwell, and Gjertrud Schnackenberg.


Ostap Slyvynsky is a Ukrainian poet, essayist, translator, literary critic, and academic. He is the author of several poetry collections and was a recipient of several Ukrainian and international literary awards. His poems, critical articles, and essays have been translated into English, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Galician, Spanish, Latvian, Lithuanian, German, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Polish, Portuguese, Croatian, Czech, and Swedish, and have been published in Ukrainian and international editions. He translates fiction and scholarly literature from English, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Polish, and Russian.


Derek Walcott (1930 – 2017) was a West Indian poet and playwright noted for works that explore the Caribbean cultural experience. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992.


The Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry, established in 2019, is an annual award that recognizes outstanding poetry from around the world. The prize is awarded to a living poet who is not a US citizen for a full-length book of poems published in the previous calendar year. The book can be in English or translated into English and may be published anywhere in the world. The winner receives a $2,000 cash award, which the author might share with the translator in the case of translated works.


The previous winner was Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha for “Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear,” published by City Lights. The 2020 winners were Canisia Lubrin for “The Dyzgraphxst” and Serhiy Zhadan for “The New Orthography,” translated by John Hennessy & Ostap Kin.


Copy editing: Ben Angel, Terra Friedman King