At the end of November, a delegation of American writers traveled to Kyiv to present a new report on the war’s impact on Ukrainian culture compiled by PEN America and PEN Ukraine. The report noted that Russia sought to stifle criticism of the war by silencing Ukrainian writers and artists, including Vladyslav Yesypenko, a journalist and recipient of the 2022 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, who was imprisoned in March. At least 31 Ukrainian writers and artists and have been killed since the war started, either by Russian authorities or while fighting.
The report also states that the Ukrainian government has documented damage and destruction to at least 49 libraries and archives. Oksana Boiarynova, a member of the Ukrainian Library Association’s board, reported in August that 2,475 Ukrainian libraries, out of about 15,000, were closed as a result of the war, and another 21 were completely destroyed.
Russian soldiers have also seized and destroyed Ukrainian literature and Ukrainian-language books from public libraries in numerous cities, according to the PEN report. Museums have been looted, as well. In all, more than 500 cultural institutions have been impacted by the war.
But through it all, the Ukrainian publishing industry continues to operate…