Sverstiuk, Yevhen

Image - Shistdesiatnyky: Mykola Vinhranovsky, Ivan Dziuba, Ivan Drach, Ivan Svitlychny, Lina Kostenko, Yevhen Sverstiuk (October 1963). Image - Yevhen Sverstiuk and Vasyl Stus. Image - Yevhen Sverstiuk (2005 photo).

Sverstiuk, Yevhen [Сверстюк, Євген; Sverstjuk, Jevhen], b 13 December 1928 in Siltse, Volodymyr-Volynskyi county, Volhynia, d 1 December 2014 in Kyiv. Literary and social critic, publicist, and political prisoner. He did graduate work at the Institute of Psychology in Kyiv and Odesa University (candidate's degree, 1965) and worked as a teacher in Ternopil oblast and the Poltava Pedagogical Institute. From 1959 he published articles and reviews in Soviet literary periodicals. Because of his criticism of Russification and other injustices, in 1965 he was blacklisted and dismissed from his job at the Kyiv Pedagogical Institute. Thenceforth his essays were circulated in Ukrainian samvydav and published in émigré periodicals. Having been fired from his job at Ukraïns’kyi botanichnyi zhurnal in December 1970 for his eulogy at Alla Horska's funeral, he was arrested in January 1972 and sentenced in March 1973, together with Ivan Svitlychny, for his involvement in the dissident movement and his defense of political prisoners, to seven years in strict-regime labor camps in Perm oblast and five years' exile in the Buriat ASSR, in Siberia. In the camps he participated in hunger strikes and other political protests. In April 1979 he was elected an honorary member of the International Association of Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, and Novelists (PEN). After his release he lived in Kyiv. In 1992 he was elected head of the Ukrainian PEN. In the late 1980s his articles reappeared in the Soviet and émigré press. Editions of Sverstiuk's writings have been published in the United States in Ukrainian (1970, 1979, 1980) and in English translation (Clandestine Essays, 1976). In 1995, he was awarded the Shevchenko Prize for his essay collection Bludni syny Ukraïny (Prodigal Sons of Ukraine) published in 1993 in Kyiv. Subsequently several of his collections were published in Ukraine, including his selected essays Na sviati nadii (The Celebration of Hope, 1999) and his monograph on Mykola Hohol (Nikolai Gogol) Hohol' i ukraïns'ka nich (Gogol and the Ukrainian Night, 2013). Sverstiuk founded a religious newspaper Nasha vira in Kyiv in 1989 and served as its editor-in-chief.

[This article was updated in 2014.]

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