Winners of 2020 BBC News Ukraine Book awards announced

By EBRD  Press Office

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2020 BBC News Ukraine Book award winners

BBC News Ukraine has announced the winners of its 2020 Book of the Year awards, presented in partnership with the Cultural Programme of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). 

During the awards ceremony, streamed on the BBC News Ukraine Facebook page and YouTube channel, Serhii Serhiyovych Saigon’s “Yupak” (publisher: Bilka) was named as BBC Book of the Year, Ulyana Chuba’s “Med i Pashtet – fantastichni vitrohony” (“Honey and Pate – Fantastic Scatterbrains”) (publisher: A-BA-BA-GA-LA-MA-GA) as BBC Children’s Book of the Year, and Oksana Zabuzhko’s “Planeta Polyn” (“Planet Wormwood”) (publisher: Komora ) as the winner in the  BBC Book of the Year – Essays category.

Commenting on the Book of the Year – which was announced by Melinda Simmons, the UK Ambassador to Ukraine – BBC News Ukraine Editor and the awards jury member, Marta Shokalo, said:  “The novel ‘Yupak’ by Serhii Serhiyovych Saigon is not only a personal success of a young author but also an important event for the Ukrainian society.  The book speaks on behalf of a generation of Ukrainians, who are now finding their voice in literature. Growing up at the turn of the epochs, it was this generation that defined Ukraine at perhaps the most challenging time in its modern history.” 

Speaking about Oksana Zabuzhko’s collection of essays, “Planeta Polyn”, EBRD Cultural Advisor and the awards jury member, Svitlana Pyrkalo, defined the author as iconic for Ukraine and the Ukrainian literature: “Her winning collection of essays elicits a range of emotions: dreaminess, grief, compassion and, above all, aesthetic joy. While her essays written a decade ago chime with today’s thinking, her most recent writings give the reader a unique chance to be present at the creation of historical records.”

Announcing the BBC Children’s Book of the Year, “Med i Pashtet – fantastichni vitrohony”, EBRD Managing Director for Communications, Jonathan Charles, said: “Today’s winner is the kind of story we all love the most: the story which works for the whole family. For children, it is a fast-moving adventure.  For their parents, it is a satirical take on big issues like digital isolation, pollution and corruption.”  

Head of Journalism, BBC World Service Europe Region, Simon Wilson said: “In many parts of the world, the BBC is known first and foremost as a news service.  But our founding principles… are not only to inform but also to educate and entertain. And these awards have an important place in that part of our activity.” 

The winning author in each category is awarded a Ukrainian hryvnya equivalent of £1,000. The publishers of the BBC Book of the Year, BBC Children’s Book of the Year, and BBC Book of the Year – Essays will have the right to use the logos of the BBC News Ukraine Book awards on subsequent editions.

The BBC Book of the Year awards were judged by:    

  • Vira Ageyeva, professor, Ukraine National University Kiev-Mohyla Academy
  • Vitaliy Chepinoha, blogger
  • Vadim Karpyak, TV presenter
  • Svitlana Pyrkalo, EBRD cultural advisor
  • Marta Shokalo, BBC News Ukraine editor.

This year’s winner of the Reader of the Year 2020 prize (a Kindle EBook) for the best reader review is Vitalii Hudyma, for his review of “Magnetism” by Petro Yatsenko (BBC Book of Year 2020 longlist). 

BBC News Ukraine Book of the Year 2019 winners were: “Dotsya” (“Daughter”) by Tamara Gorikha Zernya – BBC Book of the Year; “Sapiensy” (“Sapienses”) by Volodymyr Arenev – BBC Children’s Book of the Year; and “Tak, ale…”(“Yes, but…”) by Taras Prokhasko – BBC Book of the Year – Essays.

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