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Zirka Menzatyuk   [ Ukraine ]

The Ukrainian children’s book author and journalist Zirka Menzatyuk was born in 1954 in Mamajivzi in the Chernivtsi oblast. After winning first place at the regional Olympics for Ukrainian language and literature, she was able to study journalism at the Ivan Franko University of Lviv from 1972–1977 on the recommendation of the Writers’ Union. After graduation she worked as a correspondent for various Soviet-Ukrainian newspapers in the region and nationwide. Dissatisfied with the situation of false reporting, she gave up her journalism career and as of 1988 devoted herself to writing literary texts. Zirka Menzatyuk places a special focus on the (re)discovery of Ukrainian culture: »When we speak our own language, we live in harmony with our country!« She found inspiration for her work especially during annual trips with her husband and daughter to remote regions of Ukraine. She thus wrote a fairy tale in which she processes these journeys to the picturesque places of Ukraine with their castles and mysterious corners. Her first fairy tale book was published in 1990 under the title »Tisjatscha parasolok« (tr: A Thousand Umbrellas). Her second book »Arnica« (1993) is a story about a Carpathian magic potion. After the Ukrainian book market crisis, during which Zirka Menzatyuk published her texts in magazines, a book about famous churches and monasteries in Ukraine »Nashi zerkvi: istorija, diva, legendi« (tr: Our Churches: History, Wonders, Legends) was published in 2002. In a child-friendly, accessible form, the book explains different styles and epochs of church architecture, as well as about iconostasis, the most famous Ukrainian saints, and legends, some of which were published for the first time ever. Zirka Menzatyuk also published a book entitled »Kievski kaski« (2006; tr: Kyiv Fairy Tales) about Kyiv and its fairy-tale aspects with heroes such as the sorceress Dobrada. In the same year, her most famous two books »Taemnizja kovazkoi schabli« (tr: The Mystery of the Cossack Sabre) and »Kasotschki-kuzochvostiki« (tr: Fairy Tale Fluffy Tails) were published. In »Katrusiny skarbi« (2007; tr: Kateryna’s Treasures) children learn more about traditional Ukrainian folk art. The fairy tale collection »Jak do shabok govoriti« (2007; tr: How to Talk to Frogs) centers around boy named Ivanka who, through his ability to talk to frogs, snails, and swallows, knows exactly why lilac, onions, and rabbitfoot clover bloom in the valley.

Since 1997, Zirka Menzatyuk has headed various columns for the children’s magazine »Sonjaschnik« (tr: Sunflower). Her works have been published in Ukraine and in the USA, and have been awarded the Lesia Ukrainka Prize. She has received prizes in Slovakia and Poland, won the US International Literary Competition, and was awarded the Natali Zabila Literary Prize for her work. Her book »Kasotschki-kuzochvostiki« was chosen as the 2006 Book of the Year and won third prize at the »Book World-2006« fair in Kyiv in the »Best Children’s Book« category.




Тисяча парасольок

[Ілюстрації: Н. та О. Коваль]


Київ, 1990



[Ілюстрації: Є. Попов]


Київ, 1993


Наші церкви: історія, дива, легенди


Київ, 2002


Київські Казки

[Ілюстрації: Т. Семенова]

Видавництво Старого Лева

Львів, 2006


Таємниця козацької шаблі

[Ілюстрації: I. Ключковська]

Пригодницька повість

Видавництво Старого Лева

Львів, 2006



[Ілюстрації: C. Хміль]

Видавництво Старого Лева

Львів, 2006


Катрусині скарби

[Ілюстрації: Н. Сиротюк]


Чернівці, 2007


Як до жабок говорити

[Ілюстрації: М. Киселева]


Київ, 2007


Макове князювання

[Ілюстрації: Т. Семенова]


Київ, 2008


Ангел Золоте волосся

Ілюстрації: K. Штанко]

Видавництво Старого Лева

Львів, 2019






[Ill.: Yevhen Popov]

Kindle, 2013

[translation: Steven Kent, Vera Michener

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