© Yarema Protsiv

The Ukrainian poet and writer Stepan Protsiuk was born in 1964 in the Lviv region. He studied at the Ivan-Frankivsk Pedagogical Institute, followed by postgraduate studies at the Taras Shevchenko Institute of Literature at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, where he also received his doctorate.

In 1992, his poems first appeared in »Na vistri vdoch pravd« (tr: On the Border Between Two Truths), an anthology of the literary group »Nova Degeneracija« (tr: New Degeneration), which fought to prevent the stagnation of literature. This was followed by the poetry volumes »Apologetika na svitanku« (1996; tr: Apologetics at Dawn) and »Zavzhdi i nikoli« (1999; tr: Always and Never), after which he turned to writing prose and essays. In 2002, his first novel »Infekzia« (tr: Infection) was published. In it, he weaves several plot lines into a fictional text on the social and psychological issues of Ukraine in the 20th century. In 2003, he was nominated for the »Shevchenko Prize« for his portrayal of the problems of the Ukrainian nation. Protsiuk’s second novel, »Zhertwoprinesennja« (2007; tr: The Victim), is about the life of a poet from the province of Michurovka who finds no place in society under the conditions of the market economy. The novel »Totem« (2005) mainly revolves around ontological problems: death and fear, fetish and neurosis, despair and the search for a life in harmony with oneself and the world. In his following works, Protsiuk examined the past (»Desjati rjadok«, 2014, tr: The Tenth Line; »Trawam ne mozhna pomirati«, 2017, tr: Grass Can’t Die) as well as various social-psychological questions. He also wrote about individual and collective problems (»Rujnuwannja ljalki«, 2010, tr: Destruction of a Doll; »pid krylamy Welykoi Materi«) and parent-child relationships (»Bijsja golowoju do stini«, 2011, tr: Head Against the Wall). His literary style has been described as a mixture of postmodernism, neo avant-garde, and existentialism, building on psychoanalysis as a foundation. Besides children’s books, he wrote novels about Vasyl Stefanyk (»Trojanda ritualnogo bolju«, 2010, tr: The Rose of Ritual Pain), Volodymyr Vynnychenko »Maski opadajut powilno«, 2011; tr: The Masks Fall Slowly) and Arhip Teslenko (»Corne jabluko«, 2013, tr: Black Apple). Protsiuk’s essays, which have been published in four collections so far, are dedicated to existential themes of human life and borderline states of the psyche such as masochism, pain, depression, and misanthropy.

Some of his works have been translated into Russian, English, Polish, German, and French. Today, Protsiuk teaches modern Ukrainian literature at the Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University in Ivano-Frankivsk.