Book trade award: Ukrainian author Serhij Zhadan receives Peace Prize

Serhij Zhadan is one of the most important voices in contemporary Ukrainian literature.

Book trade award: Ukrainian author Serhij Zhadan receives Peace Prize

Serhij Zhadan is one of the most important voices in contemporary Ukrainian literature. In his work he tells of the destruction in his home country - and how the people there are trying to find peace at the same time. For this he has now received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.

The Ukrainian writer, translator and musician Serhij Zhadan will receive the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade 2022. This was announced by the Board of Trustees in Frankfurt am Main. The author was honored "for his outstanding artistic work and for his humanitarian attitude, with which he turns to the people in the war and helps them at the risk of his life," it said in justification.

The 47-year-old Zhadan is one of the most important voices in contemporary Ukrainian literature. He still lives in Kharkiv and in recent months has also reported on developments during the war for German media. In his novels, essays, poems and song texts, he leads into a world that has experienced major upheavals and at the same time lives from tradition, according to the foundation board. "His lyrics tell how war and destruction enter this world and shake people up." In doing so, he finds his own language: "Thoughtful and listening, in a poetic and radical tone," Zhadan explores, "how the people in Ukraine, despite all the violence, are trying to lead an independent life determined by peace and freedom."

Even before the war against Ukraine, Zhadan was a well-known writer in Germany, and his work has been translated into numerous languages. His early works tell of the post-socialist upheaval, of people trying to assert themselves in forgotten places. His more recent publications deal with the war in Donbass. In his novel "Internat" he deals, among other things, with the fighting, the arbitrariness and the horror in the pro-Russian "People's Republics" proclaimed in 2014. His most famous books include "The Invention of Jazz in the Donbass" and "Mesopotamia".

Zhadan was born on August 23, 1974 in Starobilsk, Luhansk region. He studied literature, Ukrainian studies and German studies in Kharkiv and received his doctorate in 1996. He has been organizing literature and music festivals and publishing novels, poems, short stories and essays since the early 1990s. Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine in February, he has been providing more humanitarian aid. Zhadan writes his texts in Ukrainian, but also translates from German, English, Belarusian and Russian into Ukrainian. He writes lyrics for various rock bands and is a singer in a band.

The Peace Prize is endowed with 25,000 euros. Personalities are honored who have contributed to the realization of the idea of ​​peace in literature, science or art. The stock exchange association has been awarding the prize since 1950. It is traditionally presented at the end of the Frankfurt Book Fair in the Paulskirche. This year, the award ceremony is scheduled for October 23.

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