Tag Archives: PEN Ukraine

Ukrainian Culture Under Attack

Ukrainian Journalist, Editor and Interviewer Natalya Kornyienko writes in the Irish Independent how a single Russian airstrike destroyed thousands of books waiting to be shipped to Kyiv for a book festival there. In a brilliant, original act of resistance, the publishers will bring the charred remains of books to a stand in that festival instead. Read Natalya’s story here.

Some of the interviews in that book have previously been published online on this website (See Chytomo Interviews, below)

Victoria Amelina wins Chytomo Special Jury prize (posthumously)

Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina, who was well known to the PEN International community, a member of PEN Ukraine and a friend of Irish PEN, received a Special Jury Award (posthumously) from Chytomo. The Award ceremony, recognising outstanding achievements in publishing, was held on 2nd November 2023.

Victoria Amelina (1986-2023)

Victoria won her award “For continuing to connect people and communities through many unseen bridges, and for creating opportunities and pathways that continue to guide the Ukrainian cultural community forward.” https://chytomo.com/en/chytomo-award-announced-winners/

Culture in a Time of War – Dublin Book Festival

Thursday 9th November, 6:30 p.m.

Venue: The Royal Irish Academy, Dawson Street, Dubin 2

Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann in partnership with Dublin Book Festival and the Ukrainian-Irish Cultural Platform host a discussion centred on the importance of preserving cultural memory in times of war. With journalist, cultural manager, Executive Director of PEN Ukraine, and curator Tetyana Teren; poet, essayist, and Professor of Cultural Studies Iryna Starovoyt; and curator of the WOUNDED CULTURE project, cultural analyst and manager at PEN International Olha Mukha

This event will be dedicated to the memory of Victoria Amelina, Ukrainian writer, human rights activist and much-loved colleague, who would have been here with us for these event if she had not been killed, along with 12 other people, by a Russian missile strike in Kramatorsk, Ukraine.

This event is supported by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, in association with Dublin City Council.

Admission is free but booking is essential, please click here.

Chytomo: Natalya Korniyenko Interview with Victoria Amelina (undated)

The following is one of a series of interviews conducted by Chythomo, a project exploring writers’ contribution to the war effort in Ukraine.

PEN INTERNATIONAL STATEMENT ABOUT THE MURDER OF VICTORIA AMELINA


Ukraine: PEN International mourns the killing of writer and PEN Ukraine member Victoria Amelina

03 July 2023 – PEN International joins PEN Ukraine in mourning the killing of writer, PEN Ukraine member and human rights defender Victoria Amelina, following a horrific Russian missile strike in Kramatorsk, Eastern Ukraine on 27 June 2023. Amelina was seriously injured and rushed to hospital in Dnipro. She passed away on 1 July 2023. She was 37 years old.

In a statement published on 2 July 2023, PEN Ukraine said:

‘With our greatest pain, we inform you that Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina passed away on 1 July in Mechnikov Hospital in Dnipro. Her death was caused by injuries incompatible with life, which she suffered from during the Russian missile shelling of a restaurant in Kramatorsk on 27 June 2023. We are announcing this news now when all Victoria’s family members have learned about it and with their consent (…). Victoria Amelina, Ukrainian writer and member of PEN Ukraine, who has been documenting Russian war crimes with the human rights initiative Truth Hounds, was in Kramatorsk with a delegation of Colombian writers and journalists. As they were having dinner at the Ria Lounge restaurant downtown, Russians launched a missile attack on this restaurant. Victoria was severely injured. Doctors and paramedics in Kramatorsk and Dnipro did everything they could to save her life, but the injuries were fatal and incompatible with life. In the last days of Victoria’s life, her closest people and friends were with her (…). For us, Victoria’s friends, and colleagues, it is very important the cultural initiatives set up by her, could last. Very soon we will share with you information about the ways you can support her life’s work.’

Romana Cacchioli, Executive Director of PEN International, said:

We are devasted by the killing of our friend and PEN member Victoria Amelina. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones during these terrible times. Victoria’s strength, selflessness, and determination in the face of adversity have been an inspiration to us all. As we grieve her loss, her words, writings, and voice will forever resonate with us. Today is a tragic day for the PEN community, who stands with everyone at PEN Ukraine. Those responsible for her killing must be brought to justice.’

Born in 1986, Victoria Amelina was a prize-winning writer and poet, and founder of the New York Literature Festival in the Donetsk region, Eastern Ukraine. Since the Russian Federation’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Amelina had been documenting war crimes with the human rights initiative Truth Hounds, and notably uncovered the war diary of Ukrainian writer Volodymyr Vakulenko, who was abducted by Russian forces on 24 March 2022. On 28 November 2022, after the Ukrainian army recaptured Izium from Russian forces, DNA analysis confirmed that the body found in grave N.319 in the woods of Izium was that of Vakulenko. Amelina had recently taken part in the first presentation of his war diary at the Book Arsenal literary festival in Kyiv on 23 June 2023.

PEN International has repeatedly called on the Russian Federation to immediately and unconditionally end its devastating war against Ukraine, including through a Resolution adopted at PEN International’s 88th annual Congressin September 2022, a statement marking a year of war crimes and resolve in Ukraine, and a Declaration of PEN International’s Writers for Peace Committee issued in May 2023.

Full statement available here: https://www.pen-international.org/news/pen-international-mourns-the-killing-of-victoria-amelina

WRITER AND PEN UKRAINE MEMBER VICTORIA AMELINA SERIOUSLY INJURED IN RUSSIAN MISSILE STRIKE ON KRAMATORSK

(Statement from PEN International)

Members and Board members of Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann are appalled and devastated by the news that our dear friend, award-winning writer and war crimes researcher Victoria Amelina, has been injured in a Russian missile strike in Kramatorsk. We wish, as hard as we have ever wished for anything, that Victoria will have a swift recovery. Here is a statement from PEN International:

29 June – PEN International joins PEN Ukraine in condemning the horrific Russian missile strike in Kramatorsk, Eastern Ukraine on 27 June 2023. Twelve people had been killed and more than 60 wounded at the time of writing, including writer, PEN Ukraine member and human rights defender Victoria Amelina, who remains in hospital.

Victoria was in Kramatorsk with Colombian writer Héctor Abad Faciolince, journalist Catalina Gómez Ángel and politician Sergio Jaramillo at the time of the attack. The Colombian delegates sustained minor injuries… more on the PEN International website.

From Words to Bullets: Ukrainian Writers and Journalists on the Russo-Ukrainian War

“Words and Bullets” is an online media project launched by the Ukrainian cultural and publishing media Chytomo and PEN Ukraine with support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). This is a series of interviews with writers and journalists who became soldiers or volunteers following the Russian invasion. 

The authors 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. 

The project started in June 2022, more than ten interviews with authors and journalists who became soldiers or volunteers due to the war will be published in Chytomo.

Some interviews are already available in English:

https://chytomo.com/en/oleksiy-sinchenko-the-war-makes-you-forget-everything-you-have-learned-before-and-begin-from-scratch/

https://chytomo.com/en/valeriy-puzik-the-war-is-when-everyone-does-what-it-takes/

https://chytomo.com/en/dmytro-krapyvenko-it-is-important-to-talk-about-the-losses-in-order-not-to-get-delusional-and-think-that-there-are-some-immortals-fighting-on-our-side/

https://chytomo.com/en/dnistrovy-russia-s-war-against-ukraine-is-its-last-cry-in-the-desert/

https://chytomo.com/en/soldier-artem-chapeye-if-i-hadn-t-gone-the-first-day-i-would-have-gone-a-week-later/

https://chytomo.com/en/halyna-kruk-war-as-an-existential-crisis-gives-birth-to-very-bright-manifestations-of-culture/

SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE

PEN Ukraine together with PEN Belarus, Polish PEN Club and Open Culture Foundation is organizing a public fundraiser to support the creative community of Ukraine.

The funds will go to help Ukrainian writers, journalists, scholars, translators, and artists who have found themselves under threat as a result of the Russian war against Ukraine.

The funds will be used to alleviate the urgent needs of Ukrainian creatives, whose lives are now in direct danger:

– urgent evacuation and resettlement in the cities of Western Ukraine,

– urgent evacuation and resettlement in safe countries.

Culture is one of the chief bastions of Ukrainian freedom and we must ensure that members of the Ukrainian cultural community can continue to speak out loudly and without hindrance.

Support now: https://penbelarus.org/en/2022…