Guest 2005, 2004.

Juri Andruchowytsch [ Ukraine ]

Yuri Andrukhovytch was born in 1960 in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. After studying journalism in Lviv he began his literary career with the publication of poems in literary magazines. His military service in the Red Army provided the inspiration for the script of his 1991 film "Oxygen Starvation", as well as for seven short stories published in 1989. In 1985, "Nebo i ploshtshi" (t: Heaven and squares) the first of his four volumes of poetry to date appeared. In the same year, together with Viktor Neborak and Oleksandr Irvanets, Andrukhovych founded "Bu-Ba-Bu" (Burlesque-Bluster-Buffonery) in 1985 also, a performance group which, especially at its peak between 1988 and 1992, had a lasting influence on the Ukrainian literary scene. The group's performances of satirical, onomatopoeic, and carnivalesque experimental poetry expressed their objections to socialist realism. The same complex, grotesquely carnivalesque style is prevalent in his novels "Recreatsii" (1992; Eng. "Recreations", 1998), "Moscoviada" (1993; t: The Moscoviad), and "Perverziia" (1996; Eng. "Perverzion", 2002), making Yuri Andrukhovych one of the most controversial figures of present day Ukrainian literature. The main theme of the surrealistic satire "Recreatsii" concerns the sociopolitical situation of the Ukraine during the years directly preceding independence. "Moscoviada", a swansong to the Soviet Union, is based on the observations Andrukhovych made at the Gorki Institute while staying in Moscow from 1989 to 1991. A complex structure, an abundance of motifs, subplots and narrative elements, as well as a baroque love of playing with the language, are the hallmarks of "Perverziia", a postmodern version of "Death in Venice".

Andrukhovych's "literary activism" has been motivated by the particular geographical and cultural situation of his native country: located at the EU's eastern border after Poland's entry, the Ukraine has remained "terra incognita" for most people in Western Europe and the US. In 2003, Andrukhovych established the Polish-Ukrainian Internet magazine "Potyah 76" (t: Train 76) which is of particular interest against the background of the two countries' Galician literary heritage. In a German collection of essays on the Ukraine entitled "Das letzte Territorium" (2003; t: The Last Territory), written in the form of "fictitious regional studies", he reflects upon this geographical (non-)existence in Europe. In the spring of 2004 he published another volume of essays, "My Europe", a literary documentation of a journey with the Polish writer Andrzej Stasiuk.

Andrukhovych enthusiastically took part in the demonstrations organised by the Ukrainian opposition during the "Orange Revolution". His first novel that was translated into German,"Dvanadcjat' obrutchiv" (2003; t: Twelve Rings), depicts the chaos of post-communist transition and the labour pains of a new state as a colourful jumble of "Huzul" folklore, mafia-like businessmen, literati and figures inspired by literature, cranky characters of the advertising industry and changing love stories. Andrukhovych has been awarded numerous national and international prizes including the Herder Award of the Alfred Toepfer Foundation 2001, which is awarded for cultural achievements in Eastern Europe, the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize and the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding in 2006. He had previously spent one year in Berlin as a guest of the German Academic Exchange Service.

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