Ukrainian Authors for Europe. Europe for Ukrainian Authors.

Literary and cultural organizations from V4 countries and the Netherlands proposed a scholarship program for Ukrainian writers and journalists in early June of 2022, three months into the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The very strength of the application from literary and cultural organizations was that they planned to translate the authors’ articles into all the four local languages and English. This was crucial to provide insider views for readers of the region into the everyday lives of Ukrainians staying in the homeland. Association of Borderline Culture Animation Folkowisko, the grantee from Poland coordinated the recruitment and selected the candidate with partner organizations: Bázis Hungarian Association of Literature and Arts in Slovakia, Association of Young Authors (FISZ) from Hungary, the Czech association of Ukrainists and Stichting Global Voices from the Netherlands. The partners along with the grantee provided mentoring to the authors and organized the translation work into the national languages and cared for their dissemination in local media.

The authors Myroslav Laiuk, Vira Kuryko, Artem Chekh, Alla Vaskovska, Ola Rusina, Oleh Kryshtopa and Maryna Bakieva received the scholarships, and could work on two stories for a total three months. They prepared articles that go far beyond in depth compared to the stereotypical news and stories flooding mainstream media. They weaved a very colorful and organic, thought-provoking insider image of current Ukrainian society from many perspectives and personal stories: surviving and struggling for emotional stability as a soldier’s wife, as creative adolescents, the present and future of Ukrainian arts or sports, from the perspective of minorities, women, even soldiers who carry their civilian past and dreams to the frontline. Readers have the chance to look into personal stories behind the empty and heartless numbers and locations that make up most of the related media coverage.

Quite a few of the authors had to develop and test their creative writing skills in a genre that was not familiar for them. The project brought writers from children’s book authors and sports journalists to historians together in journalism. Project coordinator Maciej Piotrowski highlighted his joy when recounting the process of mentoring and how he remembers the first drafts written compared to their finally published form: “Having known some of the authors’ previous works, I was delighted as well by the articles born in the frameworks of the scholarship program. In parallel, I had the chance to manage a project with excellent administration,” underlined M. Piotrowski.

The project resulted in the wish for lasting cooperation of the participating organizations. However, they have faced the increasing Ukraine-fatigue in mainstream media, they managed to awaken wide-scale interest. Due to Stichting Global Voices’ efforts, several articles were translated and published in Spanish, Albanian and Arabic already, nonetheless important, in Russian beyond the aims of the project. There has also been a plan to publish them in a printed volume in Poland. Therefore, the literary and cultural associations giving birth to the project wish to continue their work. Their plan is an even deeper, rather culture- and arts-oriented continuation.