A book by Ukrainian author Serhiy Zhadan, ‘The Orphanage’, has been included on the list of three finalists of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Literature Prize 2022.
The EBRD Literature Prize celebrates the very best in translated literature from the almost 40 countries where the Bank invests, from Central and Eastern Europe to Central Asia, the Western Balkans and the southern and eastern Mediterranean.
The main prize is awarded to the best work of literary fiction originally written in a language from one of these countries, which has been translated into English and published by a UK or a Europe-based publisher in the previous year.
This year’s finalists also include a book from Greece (‘The Book of Katerina’ by Auguste Corteau) and Slovakia (‘Boat Number Five’ by Monika Kompaníková).
The winning book will receive the top prize money of €20,000, which will be split evenly between the author and the translator. The two runner-up titles will receive €8,000, similarly divided.
The winner of the EBRD Literature Prize 2022 will be announced on 13 June.
Zhadan was born in Starobilsk, Luhansk Oblast in Ukraine. He graduated from H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University in 1996 with a thesis on the work of Mykhaylo Semenko and the Ukrainian Futurist writers of the 1920s. He then spent three years as a graduate student of philology, and taught Ukrainian and world literature from 2000 to 2004. Since then he has worked as a freelance writer.
Starting his career in 1990 his verses revolutionized Ukrainian poetry: they were less sentimental, reviving the style of 1920s Ukrainian avant-garde writers like Semenko or Johanssen. And they drew upon his homeland: the industrial landscapes of East Ukraine. Voroshilovgrad (the Soviet name for Luhansk) tells a story of a young man called Herman who left his home city Starobilsk (in the Luhansk region) but who has to come back to his native lands to protect something that belongs to him. Based on the book, Yaroslav Lodygin directed the award-winning movie The Wild Fields (Дике поле, 2018).
Zhadan is an internationally known Ukrainian writer, with 12 books of poetry and 7 novels, and winner of more than a dozen literary awards. In March 2008, the Russian translation of his novel Anarchy in the UKR made the shortlist of the National Bestseller Prize. It was also a contender for “Book of the Year” at the 2008 Moscow International Book Exhibition. In 2009 he won the Joseph Conrad-Korzeniowski Literary Prize. In 2012 Gunshot and Knife won Ukrainian rating “Book of the Year” for fiction. His 2010 novel Voroshylovhrad won him the Jan Michalski Prize for Literature in Switzerland, BBC Ukrainian’s “Book of the Decade” award and Brücke Berlin Prize. His selected poems Dynamo Kharkiv won Ukrainian “Book of the Year.” (2014) His book Mesopotamia won the Angelus literature prize in 2015, the Award of the President of Ukraine “Ukrainian Book of the Year” in 2016.
Zhadan has translated poetry from German, English, Belarusian, and Russian, from such poets as Paul Celan and Charles Bukowski. His own works have been translated into German, English, Estonian, French, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Polish, Serbian, Croatian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Belarusian, Russian, Hungarian, Armenian, and Czech.
His translated poetry has appeared in Ambit , Asymptote, Blackbird , Gulf Coast, The Manchester Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, Poetry International, Poetry International Web , Plume., The Threepenny Review, Tin House, and Virginia Quarterly Review.