In light of the tragic events taking place in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, we wanted to show our solidarity for the millions affected.

Believing that literature is always a form of dialogue, and as a response to the huge demand from readers seeking to gain perspective on the situation, we invited Academy members to recommend a book or text by a Ukrainian writer, or a book which illuminates the conflict in some way. Available to browse via our list on

#ReadAroundUkraine Recommendations

(Listed in no particular order)

Hope Jahren recommends: The Ukrainian Night by Marci Shore (2018, Yale University Press)

‘A vivid and intimate account of the Ukrainian Revolution, the rare moment when the political became the existential’


Paul Pickering recommends:

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (1967, Glenny translation, Vintage) ‘about the devil turning up in Moscow, which satirises absurdities of Soviet life that evidently have not gone away’

2666 by Roberto Bolaño (2009, Wimmer translation, Picador) ‘which goes to the very core of authoritarianism.’


Lisa Appignanesi recommends:

We Lived Happily During the War by Ilya Kaminsky

The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal ‘because the family stems from Odessa’


Rivka Galchen recommends:

Death and the Penguin by Ukrainian writer Andrey Khurkov. ‘I often teach this unusual and perfect novel, and again and again it is a student favourite. It is dark, brutal and mysterious; but also funny, tender and surprising. That such a book could be written is its own form of optimism. Also it has a penguin in it.’


Emily Perkins recommends Axiomatic or any other title by Maria Tumarkin. Please also see her page here linking to a Ukrainian Crisis Appeal donations site:


Ali Smith recommends:

Death and the Penguin, by Andrey Kurkov for Kyiv, of course.

And everything by Philippe Sands for the histories of Lviv.

Riot Days by Maria Alyokhina re Putin.

Tom Burgis’s bracing and clear Kleptopia, for London’s laundering connections to what’s happening.’



Keep them coming …