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Ukrainian writer’s tale aims to “explain” the war to French audience

Artem Chapeye’s writing journey is intertwined with his military service, reflecting his dedication to both storytelling and defending his country’s sovereignty.
Ukrainian writer
Photo: Artem Chapeye FB
Ukrainian writer’s tale aims to “explain” the war to French audience

Ukrainian writer Artem Chapeye’s latest book, “Les gens ordinaires ne portent pas de mitraillettes” (Ordinary people do not carry machine guns), has made its debut in France, translated by Iryna Dmytrychyn. Chapeye announced the publication on his Facebook page, noting that his work is an “explanatory book” and primarily targets the French audience. It has garnered praise from French readers for its poignant narrative.

Ukrainian writer
Photo: Artem Chapeye FB

The renowned French newspaper Le Monde, recently reviewed the book, highlighting its exploration of the transformative impact of war on individuals and the unpredictable nature of its aftermath. Released on 7 February 2024 by Bayard, the book offers a compelling account of the human experience amidst a brutal war.

“…this hard-hitting, lucid text crystallizes all the knowledge of himself and others, and all the tenderness, hatred and pity that he was able to draw from it [the war-ed].”

Artem Chapeye, a Ukrainian writer, translator, reporter, and traveller, is a member of the Ukrainian PEN Club. Known for his diverse literary works, including travelogues, war reports, and novels such as “Red Zone” and “Let’s Go,” Chapeye has also authored the acclaimed book “Dad on maternity leave.”

Over 30 Ukrainian writers died defending Ukraine, with more than 80 currently serving

In addition to his literary pursuits, Chapeye has been serving as a soldier in the Armed Forces of Ukraine since February 2022. His commitment to both writing and defending his country’s sovereignty reflects his varied identity.

In May 2023, Chapeye was slated to participate in a festival organized by the American PEN alongside his colleagues Artem Chekh and Iryna Tsilyk. However, the inclusion of Russian participants in the event sparked controversy, leading the Ukrainian writers to withdraw from the program. They cited their opposition to engaging in dialogue with Russian counterparts amidst the ongoing war. Following their decision, the organizers canceled the Russian segment, allowing the Ukrainian authors to present their work on 13 May 2023.

Artem Chapeye’s literary contributions have not gone unnoticed internationally, with his book “The Ukraine” now available in English on Amazon. This collection includes his acclaimed short story, “The Ukraine,” originally published in The New Yorker in 2022, further solidifying his reputation as a prolific and influential voice in contemporary Ukrainian literature.

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