Award-winning Ukrainian novelist and poet Volodymyr Rafeienko is the recipient of a digital writing residency at the University of Chichester, organised in partnership with the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Stephen Spender Trust. The residency is supported through the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture by the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute.
As part of the residency Rafeienko has been writing blogs, which can be read here:
Rafeienko, who originates from Donetsk, has twice been awarded the Russian Literary Prize (equivalent to the Booker Prize). Rafeienko is sharing his experiences of the conflict and engaging remotely with Chichester students.
In Spring 2023 the University will host a public talk with Rafeienko, Guardian Foreign Correspondent Luke Harding and poet / translator Sasha Dugdale, in partnership with the Rathbones Folio Prize. Free to attend, details here.
About Volodymyr Rafeienko
Recognised in Ukraine as one of its leading writers, Mr Rafeienko wrote in Russian until fleeing the Donetsk region to Kyiv, following attacks by Russian-backed separatists in 2014.
In 2019, he published his first novel in Ukrainian, Mondegreen: Songs about Death and Love (Harvard University Press), and a new novel is coming in 2023. The book has since been shortlisted for Ukraine’s highest award in arts and culture. He also translated Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich’s famed War’s Unwomanly Face into Ukrainian.
“In times of peace and hours of war, literature retains its constant purpose. It is the means of recreating and preserving the human in humanity. It’s harder to write in war, but that’s because living through war is also much harder.
There are two important parts to the residency: the first is to write and work, perhaps to teach. Secondly, it gives me the chance to be heard by students, colleagues, people who are not indifferent to Ukraine and the problems of culture in Europe – that is people who are open to understanding.”