Oksana Zabuzhko

    is a Ukrainian writer. She was born in Lutsk in the Volhynia region in 1960 and studied philosophy and aesthetics in Kiev. She made her poetry debut at the age of 12 but because her parents had been blacklisted during the Soviet purges of the 1970s, it was not until perestroika that her first book was published. She graduated from Kyiv’s Shevchenko University, obtained her PhD in the philosophy of art, and has spent time in the USA as Writer-in-Residence at several US universities. She has been a Research Associate at the Philosophical Institute of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences and is Vice-President of Ukrainian PEN. She has published 17 books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, which have been translated into fifteen languages; in 2006 her novel Field Work in Ukrainian Sex (1996) was named “the most influential Ukrainian book of the 15 years of independence”. Her numerous awards include the Global Commitment Foundation Poetry Prize (1997), a MacArthur Grant (2002) and the Ukrainian National Award. In the early 1990s she taught Ukrainian Studies at American universities; today, she is considered one of the most influential contemporary Ukrainian women writers, recognized especially for her novels, which have been widely translated. “I wasn’t surprised by the Russian invasion because the more you know about history the more you detect a certain logic to it. This tumour had been growing until it metastasized, but in 1991 it wasn’t treated with surgery or chemotherapy, it was only just palliative treatment… It was just cosmetic surgery that didn’t remove the core of the problem. Getting rid of the slogan of communism and replacing it with the slogan of capitalism was a purely cosmetic intervention. It wasn’t about ideas, only about pure power. Those who had power then still hold it today. And now all these metastases have got much worse. We are still facing many abandoned secrets. The heroine of my novel The Museum of Abandoned Secrets says something along these lines: ‘This is our war now but we haven’t lost yet.’ Back then, five years ago, what I had in mind was war in the existential sense: a war for ourselves, for our society, a war between good and evil, between what society forces you to do to succeed and what you feel is right. It was about the importance of these moral precepts on an existential or indeed metaphysical level. But nowadays all this has acquired a literal meaning: this is our war. It follows the same patterns and plays out in the same conditions as the ones I have described.” For more information on Oksana Zabuzhko visit her website: http://www.zabuzhko.com/en/