Yevhen Hutsalo

Biographical Note

Yevhen Hutsalo, a prolific and popular Ukrainian writer and journalist, began his writing career in the 1960s as one of an informal grouping of young poets and authors known as "the Sixtiers." These writers came to the fore during the "literary thaw" that began with Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party in 1956 and lasted, precariously at times, until his fall from power in 1964. Freeing themselves from Stalinist ideology and the confines of "socialist realism," these writers, especially the poets, embraced the refreshing wave of cultural and political liberalization, and began writing in a lyrical and innovative manner that injected new life into Ukrainian literature and continued invigorating it even after the reimposition of state censorship.

Hutsalo was born into the family of a village schoolteacher in the district of Vinnytsya in 1937. After graduating from the Nizhen Pedagogical Institute in 1959, he turned to journalism, a field in which he gained wide acclaim and recognition.

He made his first appearance on the literary scene with a book of poetry that was published in 1960, and he continued writing and publishing poetry for the rest of his life. It is in the field of prose, however, that he left his most lasting mark in Ukrainian literature. He is the author of more than thirty collections of novellas and short stories, several of which are directed at both children and adult readers, and a novel written as a trilogy.

Hutsalo’s prose abounds in finely drawn psychological portraits, detailed accounts of village and urban life, and lyrical descriptions of nature, and his masterful recreation of the vernacular speech of his characters holds immense appeal for native Ukrainian readers. In works depicting the dark side of life, he is always searching for the noble human deed that has the power to nurture optimism and hope in the most tragic and desperate situations. This faith in the basic goodness of human nature is subtly exemplified in "Holodomor: Murder by Starvation," the story included in this collection.

Hutsalo was awarded several of Ukraine’s top literary prizes, including the Taras Shevchenko Prize in 1985. His works have been translated into most of the languages of the former Soviet Union, as well as into many Western European languages. He died in 1995.

Note by Roma Franko; Edited by Sonia Morris

Volumes this author appears in:

A Hunger Most Cruel


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