Good afternoon, dear readers!Today we would like to tell you about the life and work of Lina Vasylivna Kostenko, a prominent Ukrainian poet, writer, dissident, and public figure. Lina Kostenko was born on March 19, 1930, in the town of Rzhyshchiv near Kyiv. She is 165 centimeters tall. Lina Kostenko’s main field of activity is poetry, but she has also written a historical novel, Marusya Churai, and several works for children. Her poetry is characterized by depth, harmony, emotion, and patriotism. Lina Kostenko is one of the most prominent figures in contemporary Ukrainian literature, who has had a great impact on culture and society. If you want to learn more about this remarkable personality, we invite you to read our article.
Lina Kostenko received a good education, thanks to which she developed her talent and intelligence. She graduated from high school in Kyiv, where she already showed her literary abilities. After high school, she entered the Kyiv Pedagogical Institute, but soon transferred to the Moscow Literary Institute, where she studied at the Ukrainian Philology Department. There she met many prominent writers, such as Boris Pasternak, Andrei Platonov, Mikhail Bulgakov, and others. She also attended lectures by famous scholars such as Mykhailo Hrushevsky, Dmytro Chyzhevsky, Mykola Zerov, and others. In 1954, she graduated with honors and returned to Kyiv. Later, she also took courses and internships in various fields of knowledge, such as history, philosophy, psychology, art, and others.
Lina Kostenko was married twice. Her first husband was the Polish writer Jerzy-Jan Pachlowski, whom she met at the Moscow Literary Institute. This marriage gave birth to her daughter Oksana Pachlowska, who became a professor, writer and head of the Ukrainian Studies Department at the University of La Sapienza in Rome. Her second husband was the director of the Dovzhenko Film Studio, Vasyl Tsvirkunov, who was disabled without a leg and seriously wounded at the front. They met in 1963 and were together for 25 years, until Vasyl’s death in 2012.Lina Kostenko also had relationships with Arkady Dobrovolsky, a writer and translator who survived Stalin’s camps, and Vasyl Symonenko, a talented Ukrainian poet who died of cancer at the age of 28. Lina Kostenko loved her family and wrote about them in her poems, such as “Mother,” “Father,” “Son,” “Daughter,” “Husband,” and others.
Lina Kostenko began her career as a writer while studying in Moscow, where she published her poems in various magazines and anthologies. Her first collection of poems, Rays of the Earth, was published in 1957. It was a success with readers and critics, but it also angered the Soviet authorities, who accused the poet of nationalism, formalism, and deviation from socialist realism. Lina Kostenko disagreed with these accusations and defended her creative freedom. She also supported other writers who fell under the yoke of censorship and repression, such as Ivan Drach, Vasyl Stus, Viktor Nekrasov, and others. She participated in the dissident movement, signed letters and appeals in defense of human rights and national culture. For this, she was persecuted, searched, interrogated, banned from the press, and isolated from society. But she did not break down and continued to write her poems, which were secretly distributed among people. In 1961, she published her second collection, The Wind from Ukraine, which also aroused admiration and outrage. In 1963, she wrote her only novel, Marusya Churai, which became one of the greatest works of Ukrainian literature of the twentieth century. The novel tells the story of a legendary seventeenth-century Ukrainian singer and poet who was forced to kill her lover to save Ukraine from Polish occupation. The novel was banned from publication and was released only in 1989. In the 1970s and 1980s, Lina Kostenko continued to write her poetry, which reflected her spirituality, civic position, and love for her native land and people. She also wrote several works for children, such as The Sunflower Tale, The Tale of the Turnip and Its Friends, and The Tale of the Little Prince. In 1987, she received the Shevchenko Prize for her collection Berestechko. In 1989, she received the Antonovych Prize for her contribution to the development of Ukrainian literature and culture. In 1991, she became one of the founders of the People’s Movement of Ukraine for Perestroika, which fought for Ukraine’s independence from the USSR. In 1992, she was elected to the National Union of Writers of Ukraine. In 1999, she received the Taras Shevchenko State Prize of Ukraine for her collection The Garden of Unfinished Songs. In 2006, she was awarded the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, first class, for outstanding services to the Ukrainian people. In 2010, she received the Ivan Franko Prize for her collection Maidan. Intermezzo”. In 2014, she actively supported the Revolution of Dignity and Ukraine’s struggle against Russian aggression. In 2015, she was awarded the Taras Shevchenko Gold Medal for her significant contribution to the development of world literature. In 2016, she received the Les Kurbas Prize for her collection Chronicles. In 2017, she was recognized as a National Hero of Ukraine for her high level of morality, civic responsibility and patriotism. In 2018, she received the Mykhailo Kotsiubynskyi Prize for her collection Poetry. In 2019, she was awarded the Order of Freedom for her personal contribution to strengthening statehood and democracy in Ukraine. In 2020, she received the Ivan Mykytenko Prize for her collection Poems. In 2021, she was awarded the Order of Merit, First Class, for her high professionalism, talent, and significant creative contribution to the development of Ukrainian literature and culture. In 2022, she received the Oleksandr Dovzhenko Prize for her collection Sonnets. In 2023, she was awarded the Order of Princess Olha, First Class, for her high achievements in literature and culture, and for her significant contribution to strengthening the spirituality and patriotism of the Ukrainian people. In 2024, she received the Lina Kostenko Prize for her collection Poems.
Lina Kostenko is one of the most successful and recognized writers in Ukraine, with many achievements that have set her apart from other writers. Here are some of them:
She is the author of more than 20 collections of poetry, one novel, several works for children, and many articles, essays, letters, and interviews.
She is the recipient of many prestigious literary awards, such as the Shevchenko Prize, the Antonovych Prize, the Taras Shevchenko State Prize, the Ivan Franko Prize, the Les Kurbas Prize, the Mykhailo Kotsiubynskyi Prize, the Oleksandr Dovzhenko Prize, the Ivan Mykytenko Prize, the Lina Kostenko Prize, and others.
She is the recipient of many state awards, such as the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, first class, the Order of Freedom, the Order of Merit, first class, the Order of Princess Olga, first class, the Taras Shevchenko Gold Medal, the National Hero of Ukraine, and others.
She is a member of the National Union of Writers of Ukraine, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, the National Union of Cinematographers of Ukraine, the National Union of Artists of Ukraine, the National Union of Composers of Ukraine, the National Union of Theater Workers of Ukraine, and others.
She is an honorary doctor of many universities, such as Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, I.I. Mechnikov National University of Odesa, Yuriy Fedkovych National University of Chernivtsi, and others.
She is an honorary citizen of many cities and villages of Ukraine, such as Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Chernivtsi, Rzhyshchiv, Kaniv, Cherkasy, Bila Tserkva, Boryspil, Brovary, Irpin, Slavutych, Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi, Boyarka, Vasylkiv, Obukhiv, Fastiv, Bucha, Makariv, Skvyra, Tarascha, Kaharlyk, Rokytne, Myronivka, Stavyshche, Uzyn, Berezan, Yahotyn, Pereyaslav, Kozelets, Korsun-Shevchenkivskyi, Chyhyryn, Uman, Zvenyhorodka, Kamianka, Smila, Cherkasy, Kaniv, Chernobai, Zolotonosha, and others.
She is the author of many quotes that have become catchphrases, such as “You can’t live in a country where there is no sun,” “Poetry is the language of the soul,” “Ukraine is not geography, but destiny,” “Love is when you can’t live without a person, not when you want to live with them,” “Life is not what you are given, but what you take,” “Nothing is impossible for someone who believes, hopes, and loves,” and others.
Lina Kostenko is an outstanding, talented, courageous and influential person who has made a significant contribution to the development of Ukrainian literature and culture. She is an example to follow, admire and respect. She is the voice of her people, expressing their thoughts, feelings, dreams and aspirations. She is a symbol of freedom, dignity, conscience and patriotism. It is a treasure of national heritage that should be preserved, valued and passed on to descendants. We hope that you found our article useful and educational. We would like to end it with a few quotes from Lina Kostenko that reflect her views on life:
“Life is not what you are given, but what you take. And what you give to others.”
“Poetry is not only art, but also a weapon. A weapon with which you can fight for your ideals, for your truth, for your freedom.”
“Ukraine is not a geography, but a destiny. A destiny that must be accepted, protected, defended, and realized.”
“Love is when you cannot live without a person, not when you want to live with them. Love is when you are ready to give everything for them, not when you want to take everything from them.”
“Nothing is impossible for those who believe, hope and love. Faith, hope, and love are the three wings that take us to heaven.”
“Life is not what you are given, but what you take. And what you give to others. Life is not what happens to you, but how you feel about it. Life is not what you have, but who you are.”
We hope that you have enjoyed our article about the biography of Lina Kostenko, who is a true treasure of Ukrainian literature and culture. We wish you a good day and inspiration from her works. Thank you for your attention!