Winners of 2022 BBC News Ukraine Book awards revealed: Andriy Semyankiv, Andriy Bachynskyi, Pavlo Kazarin

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

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BBC News Ukraine has revealed the winners of its 2022 Book of the Year awards presented in partnership with the Cultural Programme of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

In a break with tradition, the 2022 awards were announced not at a live event in Kyiv but virtually, via the BBC News Ukraine website

“Dancing with Bones. Medical Thriller” (Танці з кістками. Медичний трилер ) by Andriy Semyankiv (MED GOblin) (publisher: Vikhola, Kyiv) was named as BBC Book of the Year; “Ghosts of the Black Forest” (Примари Чорної діброви ) by Andriy Bachynskyi (publisher: Stary Lev Publishing House, Lviv) – BBC Children's Book of the Year; and “The Wild West of Eastern Europe” (Дикий Захід Східної Європи) by Pavlo Kazarin (publisher: Vivat, Kharkiv) – BBC Book of the Year – Essays. Two of the winning authors – Andriy Semyankiv and Pavlo Kazarin – learned about their accolades at the front where they serve as part of the Ukrainian Army. 

Opening the virtual awards ceremony, BBC News Ukraine Editor and jury member, Marta Shokalo, said: “This year, even the possibility of staging the competition was a matter of long discussions as we asked if this is the right time and if there even will be enough books to consider. We now know that it was, and there were. We received so many books, albeit in digital versions.  Including books about the ongoing war.  So many books came from Kharkiv, just as the city was shelled. We now know that even as the war rages, books are published, books are bought and books are read.”

UK’s Ambassador to Ukraine, Melinda Simmons, who announced the Book of the Year 2022 – Andriy Semyankiv’s “Dancing with Bones. Medical Thriller”, said: “I would like to congratulate all the authors and publishing houses that submitted their works to the competition. It is wonderful that the Book of the Year is happening, albeit in a changed format, despite Russia’s war and constant shelling.  Under the current conditions, this is another proof of the indomitability and resilience of Ukrainians... […] I believe that the future of the world is literally being written now in Ukraine, and its creators are all Ukrainians and all those who support you.”

Commenting on the Book of the Year 2022, Marta Shokalo compared “Dancing with Bones. Medical Thriller” to “Breaking Bad”: “Andriy Semyankiv's book fulfils one of the most important missions of literature – to entertain. It’s been a long time since the Ukrainian literature has produced such an exciting plot.  This book has every chance to become a bestseller not only in Ukraine but also internationally, as soon as it is translated into other languages.”

Introducing the Children’s Book of the Year 2022, Svitlana Pyrkalo, jury member and adviser of the EBRD Cultural Programme, said: “This year marks the tenth anniversary of the BBC Ukraine Children’s Book of the Year nomination, and the tenth year of the literary award’s partnership with the EBRD Cultural Programme.  It is fitting that this year’s winner has it all: friendship, adventure, fight for your own land and your own rights, defeating the uninvited marauders. Even though Andriy Bachynsky’s book was written before the full-scale Russian invasion in February, it answers the fundamental question: how very different people can unite to defend their land and their historic heritage – in this case an ancient oak grove – from invaders. The character of a grandfather, who lived in China and learned the ancient art of war by Sun Tzu, gives the book an exotic and humorous twist.”

The winner of the Book of the Year 2022 – Essays was announced by jury member, TV presenter Vadim Karpyak, who said: “This is a book that explains a lot about us today. How we became exactly as we are. But it also shows that we are not as perfect as we want to see ourselves in the mirror.”

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, adviser of the EBRD Cultural Programme
  • Marta Shokalo, BBC News Ukraine editor.

BBC News Ukraine Book of the Year 2021 winners were: Book of the Year – Artem Chekh’s “Who Are You?” (Хто ти такий?); Children’s Book of the Year – Petro Yatsenko’s “Union of Soviet Things” (Союз Радянських речей), and  Andriy Sodomora’s “What to Write About…” (Про що писати…) – Book of the Year – Essays.


Image: Winners of the 2022 BBC News Ukraine Book awards

About BBC News Ukraine

BBC News Ukraine – BBC News Україна – delivers its content via the website, its YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter @BBC_ua, Instagram, Telegram and Viber.  The BBC News Ukraine Monday to Friday TV news programme is rebroadcast by Ukraine’s TV channels Espreso, Priamyj and 5 Kanal. 

About the EBRD

The EBRD is a multilateral bank committed to the development of market-oriented economies and the promotion of private and entrepreneurial initiative in more than 30 countries from Morocco to Mongolia and from Estonia to Egypt. The Bank is owned by 71 countries, the EU and the EIB. Follow EBRD on the web, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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