Mark Andryczyk recently traveled to Toronto to receive the 2023 Translated Book Award from the Peterson Literary Fund for his translation of Volodymyr Rafeyenko’s Mondegreen.
The citation reads:
“In recognition of this book’s contribution to important processes of change in the way writers approach language in contemporary Ukrainian literature.”
In 2014, a well-known award-winning Russian-language writer from the Ukrainian city of Donetsk chose to escape his hometown because he did not want to live under Russian occupation. In 2019, displaced in Kyiv, he published his novel Mondegreen: Songs about Death and Love, which was his first ever literary work written in Ukrainian. Volodymyr Rafeyenko now insists that he will not go back to writing in Russian, which he once considered his native language. Rafeyenko represents a broader trend among Russian-language writers in Ukraine who, as a matter of principle, have switched to writing in Ukrainian. Indeed, they have changed not only their medium of communication, but their entire consciousness and world view.
The Peterson Literary Fund is an international awards and grants fund established by Canadian philanthropist Stanley Peterson. The fund was created to recognize books that promote a better understanding of Ukraine or the Ukrainian people, and whose subject matter is relevant to a global readership. The fund’s founder sought to recognize books that contribute to a positive image of Ukraine. The fund encourages publications that confront disinformation and challenge the use of Russian colonial narratives to frame Ukrainian history. The fund’s prizes, awards, and grants focus on distinguished written works that have a positive impact on the reader and are judged to be of interest to a broad diaspora audience. The award comes with a purse of $10,000 CAD, to be shared by author and translator.