Ask a random Kyivan to name several modern Ukrainian book authors, and you’ll
probably hear names like Yuri Andrukhovych, Serhiy Zhadan or Irena Karpa. Works
of the first two are in college reading lists, and modernist Andrukhovych has
his place in the high school literature program. Karpa is also known for her
music and TV career. But of those three, only Zhadan made it to the Focus’
Top-20 list, and he closes it as 20th.
A good friend of mine, an avid reader with a preference for modern Ukrainian
authors, said she knows ten names from the list, and most of them were in its
The most successful author of Ukraine, according to the list, is Natalya
Havrilenko, better known by her pen name Simona Vilar, an author of about 20
historical romance novels. Part of them is set in medieval France and England,
but lately the writer focuses on a more patriotic location – Kyivan Rus. Her
heroines are not Anna and Mary anymore, but Svetorada and Karina.