Two very different fictional works about post-Soviet Ukraine. Lewycka’s is a humorous family drama about an illegal Ukrainian immigrant in England – the author was born to Ukrainian parents in a refugee camp in Germany and then grew up in England, where she still lives. Kurkov’s is a somewhat darker political satire. A mild-mannered beekeeper living in a Ukrainian no-man’s land embarks on a mission to protect his hive from the warring loyalist and separatist forces, Russian occupiers and Crimean Tatars. “A latter-day Bulgakov … a Ukrainian Murakami”.
A great place to start trying to understand history repeating itself. Beginning with the advent of the Slavs and the Vikings, via Byzantium, the Cossacks, revolution, communism, Hitler and Stalin, and why Ukraine is once again a battleground at the centre of international crisis.
The Somali British poet reflects on migration, womanhood, trauma and resilience. Voices of the marginalised told with vivid detail, rhythm and spice.
Out on 24 March, written by the author of the poetic and fascinating Time Song: Searching for Doggerland. Julia Blackburn’s unique voice never disappoints; her latest work – situated somewhere between poetry, essay and memoir – is published by the independent Hazel Press, whose publications focus on the environment, climate change, feminism and the arts.