English PEN and PEN Ukraine have opened applications for a writer currently resident in Ukraine to participate in a new research and writing project across Ukraine and London in 2024, titled ‘Stories of Resilience’. The project is organised with the financial support of the UK/UA Creative Partnerships programme, designed by the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute.
About the project
The successful applicant, who can be a writer practising in any form (journalism, novels, poetry, children’s books etc.) will be expected to first undertake a period of research and development in Ukraine, collating the stories of people from different regions who use the written or spoken word as a form of resilience and cultural preservation. This could include other writers but also academics, translators, librarians, and people running creative initiatives within their community.
The writer will then be invited to undertake a month-long residency in London, where they will draw on their collated material to produce a text-based piece with support from a mentor working in or with a similar form. The end piece will meaningfully and creatively highlight both the stories of specific individuals and communities across Ukraine, but also the wider phenomenon of using art and culture as a means of personal and collective resilience and resistance. Our hope is that it will give an insight into the varied and nuanced stories that make up life in Ukraine at this moment in time. The final piece will be printed as a pamphlet, to be distributed across Ukraine and in digital form in the UK.
As literature and free expression organisations, English PEN and PEN Ukraine are invested in art’s potential to both document and act as a form of resilience and cultural preservation. This application of creative literary practice, be it fiction writing, reportage, translation, or other forms of storytelling, are particularly significant to Ukraine during a time when its people, land, culture, and language are under attack.
We are looking to work with a writer to capture and share the many ways in which both artists and communities use traditional and contemporary literary forms as a means of decolonising narrative and maintaining a country’s emotional resilience and identity during Russia’s war against Ukraine.
How to apply
Online applications to participate in this project are now open and will close at 23:59 PM (EET and GMT) on Wednesday 31 January 2024.
Download more information about the project including applicant criteria here.
To apply, please click here. Please note, the online application form is in English and only applications made in English will be considered.
To read this piece and further information about the project in Ukrainian, please click here.
PEN Ukraine is a cultural and human rights NGO uniting Ukrainian intellectuals – writers, journalists, scholars, publishers, translators, human rights defenders, culture managers. With 160 members, it is a co-founder of the Vasyl Stus Prize, the Yuri Shevelov Prize, and the George Gongadze Prize. Since February 24, 2022, we have been working to support the Ukrainian literary community, inform foreign audiences about the impact of Russian aggression on Ukrainian culture, document the experiences of Ukrainians during wartime, and restore cultural life in Ukraine. After the full-fledged war started, besides Unbreakable Libraries, we launched such projects as Literary Volunteering Trips to liberated and frontline territories, Here-and-Now. Stories of Journalists at the War, Charity Intellectual Evenings, photo exhibition The War Is Not Over Yet dedicated to media workers who have been killed, wounded, taken captive or persecuted since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, etc.
English PEN is one of the world’s oldest human rights organisations, championing the freedom to write and read. We are the founding centre of PEN International, a worldwide writers’ association with 130 centres in more than 90 countries. With the support of our members – a community of readers, writers and activists – we protect freedom of expression whenever it is under attack, support writers facing persecution around the world, and celebrate contemporary international writing with literary prizes, grants, events, and our online magazine PEN Transmissions.