Discovering Ukraine: A selection of recently published books

In this post we list some recent publications of Ukrainian literature or books related to Ukraine:

Grey Bees, by Andrey Kurkov, translated into English by Boris Dralyuk. 

MacLehose Press; 12 Nov. 2020; ISBN-10: 0857059343; ISBN-13: 978-0857059345; 352 pages

Andrey Kurkov (1961-) is a Ukrainian novelist and screen-writer, writing mainly in Russian. He is the author of some 20 novels, also books for children, and numerous documentary, fiction and TV movie scripts. His work has been translated into over 30 languages. Andrey Kurkov is the president of the PEN of Ukraine.

You can see the Ukrainian Institute London video of this book discussion with the author

You can also join the HURI’s Temerty Contemporary Ukraine Program for its fifth month-long, interactive Book Club in July. The Book Club will culminate in a live event with author Andrey Kurkov, held over Zoom as part of the Harvard Ukrainian Summer Institute Public Lecture Series. The event is open to the public and will take place on Friday, July 30 2021 from 1:15 to 2:30pm EDT.


Disharmony and Other Plays, by Volodymyr Vynnychenko. Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press (CIUS Press); December 2021; 978-1-894865-59-3; 640 pages

Volodymyr Vynnychenko (1880-1951) was an influential and popular modernist writer and playwright as well as a political activist and a Ukrainian statesmen, who served as the first Prime Minister of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (1917-1920). Vynnychenko wrote most of his plays while he lived abroad as an émigré (1907-14) to escape repression by the Russian authorities for his revolutionary-socialist activities. He lived in Germany in the 1920s and then moved to France. A number of his plays were staged in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, and other countries interested in expressionist theater. In the English-speaking world, Vynnychenko is still largely unknown and this volume of his best-known plays, translated by Professor George Mihaychuk of Georgetown University, aims to fill this gap. In addition to the Mihaychuk’s extensive introductory essay discussing Volodymyr Vynnychenko’s plays in the context of the European and Ukrainian drama and theatre of his time, this book contains English translations of the following dramas: Disharmony (1906), Bazaar (1910), Lies (1910), Black Panther and White Bear (1911), Young Blood (1913), and Sin (1919).


Present at the Transition. An Inside Look at the Role of History, Politics, and Personalities in Post-Communist Countries, by Oleh Havrylyshyn

Cambridge University Press; 2020; Online ISBN: 9781108553834: DOI:

Nearly thirty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, debates over paths to market liberalization have produced numerous studies across the social sciences. This groundbreaking work from the late Oleh Havrylyshyn offers a new perspective. Havrylyshyn served as a Deputy Minister of Finance and International Affairs in the first Ukrainian government, and after Maidan he became an economic advisor to the Presidential Administration of Ukraine. In this book he provided a unique, primary source account of the people and problems at the heart of economic transitions. Grounded in three decades of data, along with experiential research gleaned from nearly thirty countries, this book contains the most up-to-date assessment of economic transitions in post-communist regions. It critically examines questions of gradual versus radical reforms, the relationship between democracy and market liberalization, and how history, individual personalities, and foreign influence determined political choices. Thorough research and accessible style make this work a valuable resource for students and specialists of economics, political science, and history as well as readers generally interested in international studies, government, and business.

You can read more about Oleh Havrylyshyn in our Newsletter No. 27 (page 11-12).


On the Shoulders of Grandmothers. Gender, Migration, and Post-Soviet nation-State Building, by Cinzia D. Solari

Routledge, ISBN 9781138707047. Published August 22, 2017; 270 Pages

This book offers a global ethnography of Ukrainian transnational migration. Specifically, Solari compares two patterns of Ukrainian migration: the “forced” exile of middle-aged women, most grandmothers, to Italy and the “voluntary” exodus of families, led by the same cohort of middle-aged women, to the United States. In both receiving sites these migrants are caregivers to the elderly. Using in-depth interviews and ethnographic data collected in three countries, Solari shows that Ukrainian nation-state building occurs transnationally. (Shortened and adapted).