"Love our Ukraine, as the sun loves her" – do we all remember that these lines were written in Donbas?
Authors originating in Donetsk and Luhansk – we often do not identify with their place of origin. We forget that it was Donbas that gave us Volodymyr Sosyura (the author of the above-mentioned manifesto poem), dissident writers Ivan Svitlychny, Vasyl Stus, and Ivan Dziuba; Emma Andievska, Vasyl Holoborodko… Thus, we give space for those who continue to convince that Donbas has never been Ukrainian.
However, there are a number of authors whom we clearly associate with these territories and who not only in their works but also in their public activities speak about the problems of this region, its beauty and its pain – Serhiy Zhadan, Lyuba Yakymchuk, Volodymyr Rafeenko, Oleksiy Chupa, Iren Rozdobudko and others.
Most "Donbas authors" have such an important feature as preserving the genetic connection with the places of their birth, absorbing and translating its mythopoetics, they sound clear and close and in any other field when speaking of all of us.
Curator Iryna Slavinska built the literary program to combine the voices of authors from different times and cities; to remind about the role of Donbass in the dissident movement of the 1960-80s, about its resistance to the modern Russian occupation – including ideological; to offer the reader new formats of perception and comprehension of already familiar or still unknown texts.
Thus, in memory of Vasyl Stus, we offered the audience a monoplay by Peter Mironov "Black Bird with a white death mark"; works by Ivan Svitlychny were performed in the poetic performance "My Freedom" performed by Oksana Tsymbal and Iryna Voloshyna (Kharkiv/Kyiv); Neda Nezhdana (Kramatorsk/Kyiv) and Diana Aishe (Dnipro/Kyiv) were invited to a modern play "Ukraine Beyond the Catastrophe"; poet Lyuba Yakymchuk (Pervomaisk/Kyiv) and jazz contrabassist Mark Tokar (Lviv/Kyiv) staged a poetic and musical dialogue "Apricots of Donbass" based on their favourite lyrics; Dmytro Lazutkin (Kyiv) and his friends read Sosyura's favorite poems, and Oleksiy Chupa ( Makiyivka/Donetsk/Lviv) invited to “The Homeless of Donbas” readings; "Donetsk Baroque" was discussed with one of the most interesting contemporary authors Volodymyr Rafeenko, about "Donbas as a land of halftones" – with Ivan Zhuk (Lviv), Iren Rozdobudko (Donetsk/Kyiv) and other Donetsk authors; and with Serhiy Zhadan (Starobilsk/ Kharkiv), whose poetic readings could not be missed out, we managed to work in the following three forums no matter where they were.
It is also important that many authors from Donbas were forced to leave from there at the beginning of the war and often had difficulty starting a new life in other cities, so our forum became another important platform for them to talk to the audience about the difficult challenges of time.