I believe that representation matters. That people need and deserve to see themselves in art and in reality. But for me personally, reading has always been more about an invitation or a window to seeing people who are different than me and to hearing their stories. It’s been about learning of other people and other world views, yes through nonfiction, but even more, through fiction and poetry. I learn and process through stories and through books. When something happens in the world that I don’t understand or that I want to know more about, I turn to books and to stories. So, to that end, here are some Ukrainian authors, who are not writing nonfiction, whom we can all learn from.

Serhiy Zhadan, Yale University Press

“A straight-up war novel from the middle of today’s Europe may seem like a postmodern proposition at heart, but in the case of Ukraine it’s plain realism.” — Michael Idov, Book Post

Lyuba Yakimchuk, Lost Horse Press

“Throughout, there is a pleasant blurring between landscape and body, and these poems are full of transformations….In addition to its exploration of the strains of war, these poems also reach for reprieve.” — Layla Benitez-James

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Yevgenia Belorusets, New Directions Publishing

“It wasn’t safe for a girl or woman there.” Indeed, a sense of unease pervades every corner of this book, which spotlights women affected directly and indirectly by the violence in Eastern Ukraine. — Kirkus Review 

Andrey Kurkov, Deep Vellum Publishing

“If Ukraine survives, it will create even more militant literature. And that doesn’t mean that the literature will become better. It just means that literature will be more politicized — like Soviet literature, but with a different kind of propaganda or patriotic ideas.” — Interview with Andrey Kurkov

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