cover image of the book War Diary

You may close its pages, but you’ll never rid yourself of what you’ve read and seen.

Preston Gralla, The Arts Fuse

War Diary—copublished with ISOLARII—is a monumental, deeply penetrating document of life in Kyiv during the first forty-one days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

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War Diary

Literatureby Yevgenia Belorusets

Translated by Greg Nissan

The young artist and writer Yevgenia Belorusets was in her hometown of Kyiv when Putin’s “special military operation” against Ukraine began on the morning of February 24, 2022. With the shelling of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa, and Kherson, the war with Russia had clearly, irreversibly begun: “I thought, this has been allowed to happen, it is a crime against everything human, against a great common space where we live and hope for a future.” With power and clarity, the War Diary of Yevgenia Belorusets documents the long beginning of the devastation and its effects on the ordinary residents of Ukraine: what it feels like to interact with the strangers who suddenly become your “countrymen”; the struggle to make sense of a good mood on a spring day; the new danger of a routine coffee run. First published in the German newspaper Der Spiegel and then translated and released each day on the site ISOLARII (and on Artforum), the War Diary had an immediate impact worldwide: it was translated by an anonymous collective of writers on Weibo; read live by Margaret Atwood on International Women’s Day; adapted for an episode of This American Life on NPR; and brought to the 2022 Venice Biennale as part of the pavilion “This is Ukraine: Defending Freedom.”

The War Diary will be published with a new preface by Belorusets and new entries that discusses the ongoing war and Russian nationalist propaganda and its relation to the 2014 war in the Donbas.

Paperback(published Mar, 07 2023)

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Portrait of Yevgenia Belorusets

Yevgenia Belorusets

Contemporary Ukrainian writer

You may close its pages, but you’ll never rid yourself of what you’ve read and seen.

Preston Gralla, The Arts Fuse

In book form, these collected entries bring home the mix of fear, banality, helplessness and incredulity Beloruset experienced in the war’s first 41 days.

The Globe and Mail

War Diary mounts an unrelenting assault on civilized comforts.

John Domini, Brooklyn Rail

The surreal circumstances Belorusets depicts, both in her writing and in the accompanying color photographs, set against the drama of war are quietly disturbing. A compelling portrait of a nation under siege as well as the inspiring resilience of ordinary Ukrainians.

Kirkus Reviews

How do you remain an artist at such a moment of terror? One answer might come in the form of Belorusets’s war diary which she began publishing as the invasion started and which has gained the appreciation of writers like Margaret Atwood and Miranda July. Through this act of documentation, in words and photographs, she is processing the total collapse of her world and keeping alive her openness, her powers of observation.

Gal Beckerman, The Atlantic