"The Last Day": Book Launch and author discussion with award winning Ukrainian-Lithuanian writer Yaroslav Melnyk. 2 July, 7pm

DATE: 2 July 2018

TIME: 7 pm 

VENUE: 79 Holland Park W11 3SW


The Last Day is an award-winning collection of short stories by Ukrainian-Lithuanian writer Yaroslav Melnik (Jaroslavas Melnikas).

Melnikas has been described by the BBC as one of Ukraine’s most cosmopolitan writers. Ukrainian literary critic and editor of Vsesvit magazine, Dmytro Drozdovskyi, wrote of him, "Melnikas is not like anyone in Ukrainian literature, and his new book is… a mixture of brilliant irony, black humour and a deep despair born of the knowledge of human nature, which seeks catastrophe, so that they may meet God."

Some of the stories in the collection have already been made into films. Klaudija Matvejevaitė, director of The Last Day wrote that, "The script is based on a short story by Jaroslavas Melnikas, a Ukrainian author who writes in Lithuanian. The piece had a dark, very emotional, very Slavic feel to it, but it also caught my attention’

The collection of stories won the BBC Ukraine Book of the Year, an award he has been shortlisted for five times. The collection was also nominated by Lithuanian readers as being one of the best books of the last century.

La Croix wrote of him, ‘He meditates, like Dostoyevsky, on the relationship between sin and freedom.’ While the French magazine Lire wrote that in this collection of stories, ‘Melnikas questions the taboos that limit human freedom.’

In the title story, The Last Day a family discovers a book that tells them on which day one of them will die. While in the The Grand Piano Room Jura finds that the favourite rooms in his house, each designed to reflect an aspect of his personality, are disappearing one by one. He remembers perfectly well playing the piano in ‘The Grand Piano Room’. However, the other members of his family deny the room ever existed.

The event will include readings from the book and discussion with the author led by Svitlana Pyrkalo, writer, panel member of the BBC Ukrainian Book Prize. The evening will be in Ukrainian and English. Interpreting will be provided.

Books will be available for purchase on the evening, signed by the author.

The event is free but registration is required. Click here to register.

"The Last Day" has been turmed into a film. See the trailer here


Speakers' bios: 

Yaroslav Melnyk (Jaroslavas Melnikas)

The son of Gulag deportees jailed for ‘anti-Soviet propaganda’, Jaroslavas Melnikas was born in 1959 in Ukraine and lives in Vilnius (Lithuania).He is a novelist, philosopher, and critic. He is the author of more than ten books,which have won acclaim in France, have been bestsellers in Lithuania and Ukraine and have won many awards. This collection of stories won BBC Book of the Year (Ukraine) and was voted one of the top 20 books of the century in Lithuania. He won Book of the Year in France (LIBR'A NOUS 2018). The British Library called him, ‘the most cosmopolitan Ukrainian writer of the 21st century’. This is the first of his work to be translated into English.

More about Yaroslav Melnyk here


Svitlana Pyrkalo

Svitlana Pyrkalo is a London-based writer, journalist and translator. She graduated from the Kyiv National University, linguistics faculty and currently works for the EBRD as a press officer. She was a journalist with the BBC Ukrainian and is the author of a number of books including The First Dictionary of Ukrainian Slang, a short novel Green Margarita, and Don’t Think About Red. In 2000 she became editor-in-chief of a TV talk show Without Taboo and from 2007 to 2009 Svitlana Pyrkalo wrote a weekly column in the Ukrainian-language magazine Glavred. She has also written for the Ukrainian newspaper, Gazeta po-ukrainsk.


The event is supported by: