Ukrainian translation: Russia’s destruction of the Slovo writers’ house in Kharkiv – Chytomo

Kharkiv Slovo Writers House


My first published translation from Ukrainian is for Chytomo, a literature and culture website run by a team of creatives in Kyiv. It is an article by Ukrainian literary critic Vira Aheeva, about Russia’s bombing of the ‘Slovo’ writers’ house in Kharkiv, and how it echoes the damage done to the building by Stalin’s NKVD in the 1930s. The article begins:

“During the mass bombing of Kharkiv, a city of over a million people close to the border with Russia, the ‘Slovo’ writers’ house was badly damaged. The house is a significant building in Kharkiv, associated with the renaissance of the Ukrainian arts scene in the 1920s.

It was the second time in the building’s history that it had come under attack. In 1933-1938 Soviet Russia sent officers from its secret service, the NKVD, to arrest and kill dozens of its residents, Ukraine’s creative elite. In the years since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the house has become an important point on Kharkiv’s cultural map: before Russia’s invasion it had hosted literary events and writers’ residencies, and hosted dozens of Ukrainian cultural figures, including the writers Serhiy Zhadan, Oksana Zabuzhko, Lyuba Yakimchuk and Lyubko Deresh, the literary researcher Yaryna Tsymbal, and the translator Tetyana Rodionova.”

Read the full article on Chytomo.


Jonathan Campion is a writer, a translator from Russian and Ukrainian, and a book editor. He has travelled in Eurasia since 2005. Read about his work here, and contact him here.

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