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Dictionary of War


Ostap Slyvynsky

About the book

Dictionary of War

After the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian poet and translator Ostap Slyvynsky decided to "lend his voice" to the people who shared their war experience with him. The many voices, distilled with Ostap's poetics, encircle a space of experience that is difficult to grasp and convey. Following the Polish poet Czesław Miłosz, who wrote a cycle of poems entitled “World” in Nazi-occupied Warsaw in 1943, in which most of the poems are explanations of simple words, Ostap Slyvynsky also traces the shifts in meaning brought about by war: “Some meanings become blunt, you have to sharpen them like a knife with a whetstone. Others become so sharp that it is impossible to look at them. Some words die and fall away. Some emerge from some past and take on meaning again, become important”, writes the author about his Dictionary of War.

About the author

Ostap Slyvynsky, born in 1978 in Lviv, where he studied and also lives today. Poet and lecturer at the University of Lviv. Received his doctorate in 2007 with a thesis on the phenomenon of silence in literature, editor of the Polish-German-Ukrainian literary magazine “Radar”, editor of an anthology of contemporary Ukrainian and Belarusian literature, writes for various magazines and participates in interdisciplinary art projects. Slyvynsky has received several awards for his poetic work, including a scholarship from the Literary Colloquium Berlin in 2007 and Writer in Residence at quartier21/MQ in Vienna in 2011.

About the publisher

Halijafy is an independent publishing house founded in Belarus in 2007. On 16 April 2022, it had to cease its publishing activities by decision of the Belarusian Ministry of Information.

For 15 years, Halijafy Verlag was able to publish books by contemporary Belarusian authors that the state did not want to support. On the other hand, these works have repeatedly stimulated creative processes in the country and contributed significantly to the preservation and further development of the Belarusian literary language. Among the authors published by Halijafy Verlag are writers such as Volha Hapeyeva, Alhierd Baharevich, Julia Cimafeeva and Valiantsin Akudovich, whose translations of their books have left an indelible mark on Belarusian discourse in the German-speaking world.

Halijafy's publications have been awarded several non-governmental literary prizes in Belarus, including twice being nominated “Book of the Year”.

edition.fotoTAPETA is a publishing house for literature founded in Warsaw and Berlin in 2007. Since then, many blue books have been published under the motto "READ BLUE", especially by authors from Eastern Europe. Among them are many authors from Belarus. In 2019, edition.fotoTAPETA received the Kurt Wolff Promotion Prize and the Promotion Prize at the Berlin Publishing Prize. In 2021, edition.fotoTAPETA was awarded the German Publishing Prize.


Translation: Iryna Herasimovich

Iryna Herasimovich was born in Minsk in 1978 and has been a freelance translator since 2009. She has translated works by Lukas Bärfuss, Georg Büchner, Monika Rinck, Nora Gomringer, Mehdi Moradpour, Jonas Lüscher, Michael Köhlmeier, Franz Hohler and Franz Kafka into Belarusian. She also works as a dramaturge and curator in the field of visual arts and is a member of the German Academy for Language and Poetry. Since 2021 she has been a doctoral candidate at the Slavic Department of the University of Zurich in the SNF project “Arts & Disinformation”.

Production status

The translation is finished, the book is set. It will be published in January/February 2024.

Links and Reviews

The German edition was published under the title “Wörter im Krieg” by edition.FOTOtapeta, which in cooperation with the publishing house Halijafy also releases the Belarusian edition.