Ukraine will take part in the international festival of debut novels for the first time
Tamara Duda will represent Ukraine at the European Festival of the First Novel in Kiel (Germany) for the first time
Writer Tamara Gorikha Zernya (Tamara Duda) will present her first novel "Dotsia" 2019 (Доця in Ukr. Daughter) to an international audience. The author presents her work together with twelve debutant writers across Europe.

Last year, "Dotsia" became one of the most notable literary events in Ukraine. In particular, it was nominated "Book of the Year BBC-2019".

The participation of the novelist and her publisher Iryna Bilotserkovska, the director of the Publishing House Bilka, became possible thanks to the partnership between the Ukrainian Institute and the European Festival of the First Novel.

The organisers have postponed the festival to October, but shortly there will be a presentation of the collection with translations of excerpts from the novels of debutants in English, German, and French.

The Ukrainian writer shares her expectations from the festival:

"Unless your text is in English (French, or German…), it does not exist at all. It is unfortunate for a Ukrainian author to realise this, but it is true. As it turned out, writing and publishing a book in Ukrainian in Ukraine is only a small part. Especially, if it is a book about the war and carries some educational mission apart from artistic value.

If you want to convey your work to a wide readership, you have to go along the thorny path. For a Ukrainian publishing house, a trip to Europe can be compared to the first steps of the Little Mermaid on land.

It took six years of war for Ukraine to be perceived at least as an independent state. It will take six times six years for a Ukrainian author to get recognition of the independent and full-fledged artist.

And I am sincerely grateful to the Ukrainian Institute for speeding up this process. They took me by the hand and offered their expertise, experience, translators, and promotion opportunities. For me, this help is priceless. It makes you feel that you are not alone. There are people and organisations in Ukraine that are on the same wavelength as you, moving in the same direction as you."

The plot of the novel describes the spring and summer of 2014 in Donetsk. The protagonist of the story goes through all stages of confrontation with the new military and occupation reality. The country is changing, Donbas is changing, and the protagonist is changing herself. The novel describes the girl's transformation into a warrior. However, this is a love story, manifested in deeds, not words.

The European Festival of the First Novel takes place since 2003. The professional audience of over 120 writers and more than 100 publishers from Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Hungary, France, Finland, Switzerland and other countries gathers every year in Schleswig-Holstein, north Germany.