Diaspora

Postwar Period

Immediately after World War II, in the second half of the 1940s, Ukrainian literature outside of Soviet Ukraine experienced an unusually intensive period of development in the Displaced Persons camps in West Germany and Austria. These camps, which had become home to over 200,000 Ukrainian refugees, including a significant number of writers and literary scholars, represented a hub of fervent cultural activity, so much so that the period 1945–1949 is often referred to by scholars as a 'minor renaissance' in Ukrainian literature.

Thrown together from various regions of Ukraine, writers managed to replay on a small scale the activity of the 1920s. They convened congresses, organized literary associations and published almanacs, journals and books. A key role in the most important literary organization of the period, MUR, was played by the linguist, scholar and literary critic, George Yuri Shevelov and the novelist Ulas Samchuk. Variety and impetus came from a large group of authors, some of whom, such as Teodosiy Osmachka, Yuri Klen, Ivan Bahriany, Mykhailo Orest, and Dokiya Humenna, had managed to escape the purges in Soviet Ukraine. Other notable members of MUR included the dramatist, prose writer, essayist, and publisher Ihor Kostetsky; the writer and scholar Viktor Petrov (V. Domontovych), the politically ambivalent Yuri Kosach and the poet Vasyl Barka. Newcomers to literature included Oleh Zuyevsky, Yar Slavutych, Leonid Poltava and Igor Kaczurowskyj, who went on to produce books of merit.

This 'minor renaissance' of Ukrainian literature came to an end in the early 1950s as the majority of the authors emigrated to North America and continued their literary work there.

USA and Canada

There had been Ukrainian literary activity in North America since the turn of the century. Many of the early works were poems written in simple, folk-like verse, expressing longing for Ukraine or for acceptance in the strange new land. A few figures stand out, among them the dramatist Myroslav Irchan (who returned to Soviet Ukraine), the poet Mykyta Mandryka, and the novelist-chronicler Illia Kiriak. With the advent of the immigrant writers after the World War 2, literary activity increased; it was especially enlivened by the appearance in the late 1950s of a group of younger authors known as the New York Group. There was little stylistic convergence between the depoetized strophes of George Tarnawsky, the sensual earthy images of Bohdan Boychuk, the surrealism of Emma Andijewska, the erudite allusions of Bohdan Rubchak, the mythical exoticism of Vira Vovk, and the otherworldliness of Patrytsiya Kylyna (Patricia Warren), but the members of the group were united in their attempt to create modern poetry devoid of immediate links to the tradition of nationalist poetry. Andijewska has also contributed significantly to the development of the modern Ukrainian novel. Some of the other writers who continued their literary activity in North America were the poets Vasyl Barka, Vadym Lesych, Oleh Zuyevsky, Yar Slavutych, Leonid Poltava, Volodymyr Skorupsky, Borys Oleksandriv, Yuri Kolomyiets, Ostap Tarnavsky, and Bohdan Kravtsiv; the satirists Oleksander Smotrych and Bohdan Nyzhankivsky (Babay); the humorists Ivan S. Kernytsky and Mykola Ponedilok; and the novelists Ulas Samchuk and Oleksa Izarsky. Literary criticism and essays continued to be written by George Yuri Shevelov, Yuri Lavrinenko, Ihor Kostetsky, and Ivan Koszeliwec.

Other diaspora writers included Iwan Majstrenko (Germany), Dmytro Chub (Australia), Lesia Bohuslavets (Australia), Walter Berezy (Australia), Kuzma Kasdoba (Australia), Volodymyr Rusalsky (Australia), Ivan Bodnarchuk (Canada), Oleksandr Luhovy (Canada).