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War In Europe (Volume 12, Number 1)

Our forthcoming issue, “War in Europe”, is currently being assembled by the Editors of Irish Pages. The Guest Editor is the highly distinguished Ukrainian-American novelist, short-story writer and poet Askold Melnyczuk (the Founder and Editor for over 30 years of the celebrated journal Agni), who lives in Massachusetts. Much of the Ukrainian writing (from both inside and outside the country) has already been assembled or arranged. A great deal of translation is involved, including by distinguished poets and translators whose first language is English.

Since it’s been going on forever, “War in Europe” is not of course limited to the current war in Ukraine, though this will be by far the prime focus. There will also be small relevant amounts of writing about the violent twentieth-century history of Ireland (including the Troubles) and of the Balkans, as well as the on Second World War. As with every issue, there will also be a “Portfolio” of images – this time, of course, exclusively on the war in Ukraine.

This is already shaping up as our second most important issue, after “Heaney” (in 2014), with a likely large global reach given some of the well-known international contributors. All involved (Editors, contributors and translators) view this issue as an “urgent ethical project”.

Askold Melnyczuk, Novelist, Short-story Writer & Poet

Askold Melnyczuk’s first novel, What Is Told (1994), a “New York Times Notable Book” – which Seamus Heaney described as “a great novel of unresentful sorrow and half-requited grief” – was the first commercially-published novel to treat the Ukrainian-American experience. His second, The Ambassador of the Dead (2001), was selected as one of the “Best Books of the Year” by the Los Angeles Times, which noted: “Melnyczuk’s Ambassador is an eloquent meditation on the human need for a rooted historical perspective. His ambassador, Adriana, invites comparison to one of the tempestuous Karamazovs. With her, he has brought the great tradition of Russian literature to American soil in a transplant that is a work of art.” The House of Widows (2008) was chosen by the American Libraries Association’s “Booklist” as an Editor’s Choice. His most recent book is a story collection, The Man Who Would Not Bow (2021). A book of poems, The Venus of Odesa, will appear in 2025.

His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Nation, The New York Times, Glimmer Train, The Antioch Review, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, Words Without Border and Irish Pages. He co-edited From Three Worlds: The New Writing from Ukraine. Currently a Professor in the MFA Program at the University of Massachusetts, he has also taught at the Bennington Writing Seminars, Boston University, and Harvard. He is Founding Editor of Arrowsmith Press.