Photo credit : Daria Koltsova

Photo credit : Daria Koltsova


(Мирослав Лаюк)

Born and raised in a small village in Western Ukraine, at age twenty-eight, Myroslav is the author of three poetry collections, two novels, and a forthcoming children’s book. He is a winner of the Smoloskyp Literary Award (Ukraine), the Kovaliv Fund Award (USA), the Oles Honchar Prize (Germany and Ukraine), and the Litakcent Literary Award (Ukraine.) His first novel Babornia was a finalist for the 2016 BBC Book of the Year Award in Ukraine. Myroslav’s work has been translated into eleven languages, and his poetry has been set to music by two Kyiv-based music groups of international repute: Dakh Daughters and Oy Sound System. He holds a PhD in Literary Studies from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Kyiv, where he currently teaches. In 2018, Myroslav was honored as one of the most innovative young leaders in Ukraine in The Kyiv Post’s Top Thirty Under Thirty award program.

Born 1990 in Smodna, Ukraine.
Currently resides in Kyiv, Ukraine.


Finalist for the 2016 BBC Book of the Year Award

In taking stock of her life, Maria Vasylivna Semenko, a seventy-one-year-old biology teacher in a Carpathian town, finds solace in the fact that she experienced a great love in her distant past. But doubt is cast on both that love and other aspects of her past when one day, in the wardrobe of her long-deceased husband, she finds a false bottom covering a secret compartment with puzzling items. A search for answers ensues—one that reveals two corpses, rumors of a Virgin Mary apparition, clandestine meetings of the KGB-preceding NKVD, and a mysterious relationship between her husband and a former lover. In the throws of disillusionment, Maria Vasylivna finds herself questioning the career to which she has dedicated forty years of her life, as well as all that she thought once mattered. A biting social commentary laced with subtle humor, Laiuk’s scrutiny of the educational system in Soviet and post-Soviet Ukraine—and its propensity for swallowing, masticating, and spitting back out human lives—speculates whether all state and social institutions in Ukraine are, in fact, babornias: decrepit, musty, and outdated.
Translation sample available.

Key words: literary fiction, social commentary, mystery, Soviet education, old age

Original publication: «Баборня», Old Lion Publishing, 2016

Anticipated word count: 80,500

English rights holder: Old Lion Publishing

Photo credit: Daria Koltsova