Serhii Zhadan
Writer, translator, social activist, frontman of the bands Zhadan and the Dogs and The Mannerheim Line. He is author of the novels 'Depeche Mode', 'Vorishilovgrad', 'Mesopotamia', 'The Orphanage', the poetry collections 'Quotations', 'Ethiopia', 'The Life of Maria', 'Templars', 'Antenna', 'A List of Ships', 'Aviation Psalm' and others. Serhii Zhadan's works have been translated into more than twenty languages and recognised by numerous national and international prizes. In particular, the novel Voroshylovhrad received the BBC Ukraine prize in 2014 for best book of the decade.
People without a position do not interest me. Regardless of whether they are poets or metalworkers
Of course, it is not necessary for a writer to touch upon political processes in their work. For example, if they do not have a sense of their own competence in them. However, even apoliticality can have a definite political component.

One's native landscape without question influences one's creative work, character and mentality. It influences breathing, sense of rhythm, sense of distance. I feel this well in my wake, this dependence on the horizontals, on the planes. My most recent collection Aviation Psalm is about this. And, of course, there is nowhere to get away from the historical and political context that forms a nation's worldview.

Despite all of our diversity and unique identity, Ukrainians have common values which unite us. This is a sensation of historical continuity, originality and self-sufficiency, the formation of the future on the basis of that legacy which we have.
Ukrainian literature has changed alongside society over the course of 30 years: both socially and in terms of its worldview. It has been an interesting journey My greatest fear during the war was exactly that: to show my fear. Or my doubts, or fatigue. So as not to feel that my being on the front line was a mistake.
Patriotism for me is first and foremost about feelings of love and responsibility. At war I learnt to battle, to survive, I understood that something depended on me. Or, more precisely, everything.
The most important thing is that its story continues. We are able to follow new tendencies, new vectors of development. Generally, one can say that it settles into new circumstances with confidence.

In the early 2000s the first generation of children of independence grew up. Somehow or other they searched for the answers to many questions connected to identity, in particular cultural identity. For them it was important to reclaim their own place. The flourishing of Ukrainian literature and its rapid popularity, including in the Russian-language sphere, became a natural consequence of these social processes.

We are already able to say today that Ukrainian literature has its own tradition and heritage. Over the course of the past two decades, we have undergone a serious journey, and today Ukrainian books are translated in many countries, Ukrainian literature is opening up for the global reader. I hope that this process will gain momentum in the future.
I am from the East (a resident of the industrial regions of the East of Ukraine) and I like it. The environment in which I grew up was an important factor in the formation of my worldview. Pro-Russian sentiments, the marginalisation of the Ukrainian language: all of this, undoubtedly, encouraged the occupation of a definite position. Against the background of this I consciously chose the path of a Ukrainian writer, for which I am massively glad.

To have the opportunity to write and make contact with your reader is the most important thing for me, and this is entirely sufficient for me. I do not aspire to recognition and regalia.

As far back as during my study in the Starobilsk School (a comprehensive educational institution in the city of Starobilsk, Luhansk region) in the early 1990s I saw the Kharkiv Ukrainian community: active, bright, slightly noisy and unbelievably stubborn in the assertion of its values. Since then, these have been my environs.

I have been writing since childhood, since infancy. From then onward it has given a feeling of adventure and joy. The aspiration to write is an interior jolt, it happens from within, from yourself. External events, of course, form the context. I consider it to be my personal goal to talk about what seems important to me: from seasonal changes in the weather to events in the Verkhovna Rada.

On the level of sensation this process can be compared with breathing: work on a novel starts with taking the perspectives into account, like long-distance running. And it is a very pleasant feeling of concentration and freedom.
I have been going to protests for more than 30 years, it is natural for me.

A fragment of the Kharkiv monument to Lenin is one of the symbols of a new Ukrainian story. It is like a piece of the Berlin wall: material witness to evil which has lost its authority. It also has a little backstory.

At the end of February 2014 Viktor Yanukovych fled from Kyiv to Kharkiv. Kharkiv residents went out for a mass protest, there were several thousand people. It all culminated in a protest in Freedom Square under the Lenin monument. I remember that I suggested demounting Vladimir Ilyich then. Everyone supported it, and my acquaintances and I went to the nearest building supply store for an angle grinder. We even bought it. But whilst we were going there, fighters from the 'Oplot' (an armed formation of the so-called 'Donetsk National Republic') club came up to the square and started a mass fight. So then we did not take down Lenin.

On the 28th of September that same year, when the monument was finally toppled, I was not in the city. I was gifted this fragment later. However, for me the fact that it finally happened was a just end to this entire story.

For a writer the most important thing is not to write about what is not interesting to him, what he does not understand, and what he does not love