Tamara Gorikha Zernya, Volodymyr Arenev and Taras Prokhasko win the 2019 BBC News Ukraine Book awards

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

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BBC News Ukraine has announced the winners of its 15th Book of the Year awards presented in partnership with the Cultural Programme of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

At a ceremony at Mystetskyi Arsenal – National Cultural and Museum Complex in Kyiv, Dotsya (Daughter) by Tamara Gorikha Zernya (publisher: Bilka, Kyiv) was named BBC Book of the Year.  

Sapiensy (Sapienses) by Volodymyr Arenev (publisher: Ranok, Kharkiv) won the BBC Children’s Book of the Year title.  Tak, ale… (Yes, but…) by Taras Prokhasko (publisher: Meridian, Chernivtsi) won in the BBC Book of the Year – Essays category.

BBC News Ukraine Editor, Marta Shokalo, comments:  “We are delighted that so many great books took part in the 15th BBC Book of the Year awards.  Never before had our long list been so long and never before had there been so many new names.  Tamara Gorikha Zernya’s debut novel, Dotsya, about the war in Ukraine’s East, is a profound, poignant read – and we believe, presents an important event in Ukrainian literature.  Taras Prokhasko, who once won our children’s book accolade, this time took the Essays award with his Tak, ale… As he talks about the simplest things in our lives – breakfasts, apples, balconies, curtains – he masterfully fills these notions with philosophical essence.”

EBRD cultural advisor, Svitlana Pyrkalo, adds: “The time has come for some action in the Children’s Book of the Year!  Space cadets, mind-bending aliens, bravery and friendship are the themes of the winning book, Sapiensy, by Volodymyr Arenev. The fast-moving thriller’s message to the reader is that, yes, bravery and luck can help, but when an alien attacks, you had better also be equipped with knowledge and skills!”

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”
  • Olga Gerasymiuk, journalist, member of Ukraine National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting
  • Taras Lyuty, philosopher, writer
  • Svitlana Pyrkalo, EBRD cultural advisor
  • Marta Shokalo, BBC News Ukraine editor, awards coordinator
  • Vitaliy Zhezhera, writer, journalist. 

The Reader of the Year 2019 prize for the best reader review – a Kindle EBook – was awarded to Inna Dolgushina for her review of Dotsya by Tamara Gorikha Zernya. 

BBC Book of the Year 2018 winners were: Lovers of Justice (Kokhantsi Yustitsii) by Yuri Andrukhovych - BBC Book of the Year, Mary (Меri) by Sashko Dermansky – BBC Children’s Book of the Year, and Andrii Bondar’s Tserebro  – BBC Book of the Year – Essays.

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