Support Us

Book of war testimonies by deceased Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina to be published in US

Monday, 17 June 2024, 17:48
Book of war testimonies by deceased Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina to be published in US
Photo: Victoria Amelina on Facebook

St Martin's Press, an imprint of American publishers Macmillan, is to publish A War and Justice Diary: Looking at Women Looking at War by the Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina, who was killed in a Russian missile strike on Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, on 1 July 2023.

The publisher's website says the book, priced at US$29, will be available to order from 18 February 2025.

"When Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Victoria Amelina was busy writing a novel, taking part in the country’s literary scene, and parenting her son. Now she became someone new: a war crimes researcher and the chronicler of extraordinary women like herself who joined the resistance. These heroines include Yevheniia, a prominent lawyer turned soldier, Oleksandra, who documented tens of thousands of war crimes and won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2022, and Yuliia, a librarian who helped uncover the abduction and murder of a children’s book author. Everyone in Ukraine knew that Amelina was documenting the war. She photographed the ruins of schools and cultural centres; she recorded the testimonies of survivors and eyewitnesses to atrocities. And she slowly turned back into a storyteller, writing what would become this book," the description of the book says.


Victoria Amelina said at the 29th BookForum in Lviv that she was writing a book in English about Ukrainian women who are "trying to achieve justice in different ways".

"Among the heroines are Oleksandra Matviichuk, Head of the Centre for Civil Liberties, journalists Natalka Humeniuk and Vira Kuryko, documentarians of war crimes from the NGO Truth Hounds, lawyers Yevheniia Zakrevska and Larysa Denysenko... Obviously, I myself also feature in the novel, as do Ukrainian cities, towns and villages like Kyiv, Kharkiv, Izium, Balakliia, Kryvyi Rih, Chernihiv, Kapytolivka, Verbivka, Vysokopillia, Novoselivka, and others," she said.

Victoria Amelina's book will be released in the US.
Photo: Macmillan Publishers, St Martin’s Press

Tetiana Teren, Executive Director of PEN Ukraine, noted that Amelina's book will also be published by a number of other leading foreign publishers.


"The structure of this book changed several times, as evidenced by Victoria's archive, and the writer eventually settled on documentary writing, which included diary entries, reportage stories from her heroines, the voices of witnesses to crimes, investigations and reports of field missions, interviews, essays, historical excursions, and poems. What was originally defined and remains unchanged is that it had to be a book in English to testify to the world about Russia's atrocities and genocide against Ukrainians, which has been going on for several centuries," Teren added.

Victoria Amelina was a writer and public figure, winner of the Joseph Conrad Prize and the National Coronation of the Word Award in 2014. She was a member of PEN Ukraine. In 2021, she was nominated for the Central European Angelus Literary Award.

That same year, Amelina organised and hosted the first New-York literary festival in the village of the same name in the Bakhmut district of Donetsk.

In the year of the full-scale invasion, she joined Truth Hounds, an organisation that documents human rights violations in Ukraine.

Victoria also discovered the journals of Volodymyr Vakulenko, another Ukrainian writer and poet, in Kapytolivka, near Izium, after the village was liberated. Vakulenko had been executed there by the Russians.

She was killed while on a trip accompanying Colombian writers to Donetsk Oblast.

Victoria Amelina in New-York, Donetsk Oblast.
Photo: Victoria Amelina on Facebook

At the close of 2023, it was announced that Arrowsmith Press would publish an anthology of writings in tribute to Victoria Amelina entitled Nothing Bad Has Ever Happened: A Bouquet For Victoria Amelina.

In April 2024, the Staryi Lev ("Old Lion") Publishing House opened the pre-sale of Victoria Amelina's debut poetry collection, Testimonies. Amelina started writing the poems in the anthology when Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began. The last poem was completed just a few days before her death on 27 June 2023 as a result of a missile strike on Kramatorsk.

Support UP or become our patron!