Serhij Zhadan

Voroshilovgrad - Novel

Original Ukrainian title: Ворошиловград, published in 2010 by Folio, Kharkiv
Serhij Zhadan
Foto: Serhij Zhadan
© Isolde Ohlbaum

Serhij Zhadan was born in 1974 in Starobilsk, near Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, and studied German at Kharkiv University. Since 1991, he has been one of the leading figures on the Kharkiv scene.

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English world rights (Deep Vellum), Russia (Astrel), Arabic world rights (Here&There), France (Noir sur Blanc), Italy (Voland), Netherlands (De Geus) Poland (Czarne), Hungary (Europa), Bulgaria (Paradox), Republic of Moldova / Romanian rights (Cartier), Latvia (Janis Roze), Slovenia (Beletrina), Belarus (Logvinau), Georgia (Intelekti)


In expressive prose, Zhadan delivers a road novel from the edge of Europe that dares to dream the dream of freedom in a completely new way: as the search for home in a world without boundaries.

The success of his Democratic Youth Anthem (Гімн демократичної молоді, 2006, German edition by Suhrkamp 2009 under the title Hymne der demokratischen Jugend) cemented poet-performer Serhij Zhadan’s reputation as one of the most important young Ukrainian authors, alongside Yuri Andrukhovych. His latest novel is entitled Voroshilovgrad, a reference to the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk, which in the Soviet period was renamed in honour of military commander and politician Kliment Voroshilov. The industrial landscape of eastern Ukraine provides the real and imaginary setting for this Ukrainian »Easy Rider«. The novel centres on Herman, a young advertising executive who is rattled by an unexpected phone call: his brother, who runs a remote petrol station, has disappeared. In order to find his brother he must undertake an incredible journey, drifting off the beaten track like a nomad across the steppe.


»Here lies the power source of Zhadan’s writing – in linguistic passion« Die Zeit

»Serhij Zhadan, poet, performance artist and impresario, is one of the most important creative forces in modern Ukrainian alternative culture. His first novel absolutely bashes this into the reader. He writes desolately, brashly, deliriously, associatively, cleverly and with laugh-out-loud humour and great empathy for his characters. […] A book between Charles Bukowski, the Sex Pistols and the also-rans poetry of Aki Kaurismäkis.« KulturSpiegel on Depeche Mode

Other publications

Internat/The Orphanage (2018)

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English world rights (Yale UP), France (Noir sur Blanc), Italy (Voland), Denmark (Jensen & Dalgaard) Poland (Czarne), Belorussia (Januškevič), Republic of Moldova / Romanian rights (Cartier), Georgia (Intelekti)

Mesopotamien/Mesopotamia (2015)

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English world rights (Yale UP), France (Noir sur Blanc), Italy (Voland), Denmark (Jensen & Dalgaard), Norway (Pax), Poland (Czarne), Georgia (Intelekti)

Hymne der demokratischen Jugend/Democratic Youth Anthem (2009)

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Russia (Amphora), Poland (Czarne), Slovakia (Brak), Bulgaria (Paradox)

Anarchy in the UKR/Anarchy in the UKR (2007)

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Russia (Amphora), France (Noir sur Blanc), Sweden (2244/Bonniers), Norway (Pax), Lithuania (Kitos Knygos), Poland (Czarne), Republic of Moldova / Romanian rights (Cartier)

Depeche Mode/Depeche Mode (2007)

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English world rights (Glagoslav), Russia (Amphora), Italy (Castelvecchi), Sweden (2244/Bonniers), Poland (Czarne), Hungary (Europa), Bulgaria (Paradox), Republic of Moldova / Romanian rights (Cartier), Estonia (Loomingu Raamatukogu), Lithuania (Kitos Knygos)