Ukrainian novel ‘The Orphanage’ by Serhiy Zhadan wins 2022 EBRD Literature Prize

Ukrainian novel ‘The Orphanage’ by Serhiy Zhadan wins 2022 EBRD Literature Prize

June 14, 2022

The Ukrainian book ‘The Orphanage’, written by the widely acclaimed Ukrainian novelist and poet Serhiy Zhadan, has won the 2022 EBRD Literature Prize. 

The novel was translated from Ukrainian by Reilly Costigan-Humes and Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler. The author and the translators will split the €20,000 prize.

This is now the fifth year of the EBRD Literature Prize which celebrates the best translated literature from the nearly 40 countries where the Bank invests. The main prize is awarded to the best work of literary fiction originally written in a language from one of these countries, which has been translated into English and published by a UK or a Europe-based publisher.  

The action of The Orphanage (published by Yale University Press) takes place in contemporary eastern Ukraine. It is the gripping story of a civilian’s desperate journey through conflict zones to reach home.   

A schoolteacher travels across the war-torn Donbas in Ukraine to pick up his nephew from a residential school. The pair then travel back home together. Belying the simplicity of this storyline is Serhiy Zhadan’s extraordinary, explosive, tender, angry and poetic novel of a country riven by conflict, and the absurdities, banalities, horrors and moments of human connection that war occasions,” said Toby Lichtig, Chair of the independent judging panel. “The Orphanage was timely when it first appeared in Ukrainian in 2017, it was timely when it first appeared in Reilly Costigan-Humes and Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler’s excellent translation last year, and it is even more grimly timely now.

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