Irpin - the capital of Ukrainian literature

Almost the entire world knows about "The Adventures of Neznaika and His Friends". But is it known to everyone that this work was written by Mykola Nosov based on stories about children playing on the streets of Irpin? And almost all of us have read the famous novel "Roxolana". But did you know that Pavlo Zagrebelny wrote it in Irpin? And that in Irpin, works were written by Malishko, Bazhan, Sosiura, Vyshnya, Dovzhenko, Tychyna, Honchar, Oliynyk, Pavlychko, and Voronko? Where exactly in Irpin did Maxim Rylsky, Lina Kostenko, Leonid Pervomaisky, Mykhailo Stelmakh, Hryhoriy Kochur, and Dmytro Palamarchuk live? And why does Irpin have the House of Creative Writing, a monument to the author, the Writers' Park, the Wooden Sculpture of the Reader, the Square of Creative Spirit, and a monument to young Taras Shevchenko? Finally, why was the Irpin Literary Award established? Don't know? It's time to head to the city of literary fame.

The "Nesznayka" Park in Irpin is the largest literary park in Ukraine.

Since its founding, Irpin has become a kind of magnet for cultural and artistic figures, and most importantly - writers from all over Ukraine.

In 1910, the Irpin Society of Amateur Stage Art was established, which staged amateur performances, organized literary-musical and dance evenings, and held lectures on stage art and literature.

In 1911, the family of writer Mykola Nosov settled in Irpin on First Line Street (now Stelmakha Street, 12). He was born in Kyiv, and spent his childhood and youth in Irpin. In his autobiographical book "The Secret of the Well", he conveyed his childhood impressions and details of his own work biography. The book vividly depicts the life of Irpin at the beginning of the 20th century. Mykola Nosov later became the author of the world-famous trilogy of tales about the adventures of Neznayka and the little men.

In 1905, Kyiv public figure and entrepreneur Ivan Chokolov built a two-story manor house on a picturesque elevated bank of the Irpin River. Starting from the 1920s, it became a trade union vacation home during the summer, and in 1936, Chokolov's former dacha and the adjacent territory were transferred to the ownership of the Writers' Union of Ukraine and named the House of Creative Work of Writers. After World War II, two-story buildings for artists were built there.

The House of Creative Work of Writers became a source of strength for Ukrainian literature, a shelter for creativity and inspiration, peace and work, and also known as the "Irpin Parnassus," as the writers themselves lovingly called it.

Ukrainian classic writers, journalists, playwrights and critics such as Andriy Malyshko, Mykola Bazhan, Volodymyr Sosyura, Ostap Vyshnia, Oleksandr Dovzhenko, Pavlo Tychyna, Oles Honchar, Stepan Oliynyk, Dmytro Pavlychko, Anatoliy Shyian, Leonid Smiliansky, Platon Voronko, Mykola Shpak, Oleksandr Kovin'ka, Kost Hordiienko, Petro Panch, Oleksandr Korniichuk, Pavlo Zahrebelny, Platon Voronko, Yuriy Yanovs'kyi, Pavlo Usenko, Kost Herasymenko, Teren' Masenko, Ivan Honcharenko, Ivan Tsiupa, Oleksa Yushchenko, Yuriy Mokriyev and many others worked and rested here.

Wooden sculpture of a Reader in the Writers' Park in Irpin

The "Irpin Parnassus" has been visited by foreign literary figures such as John Steinbeck and Philipp Bonosky from the United States, Maria Marchanova from the Czech Republic, Pierre Gamarra from France, Gobner Rolf from Germany, and Yar Slavutych from Canada. Memories of these writers, their poems, and photographs taken during their stay in the House of Creativity were included in Oleksa Yushchenko's book "Trains Whistle for Irpin" (2003). Ukrainian writer Volodymyr Koskin published a book called "Irpin Parnassus: A Historical Lyric-Humorous Tale" in 2016, which narrates the stories of writers and their literary characters.

Many writers lived in Irpin not only in the House of Creativity but also in their own estates or their friends' homes. Ukrainian poet Maxim Rylsky lived and worked on 15 Central Street in Irpin from the spring of 1938 to the spring of 1951. In the summer, he would stroll in his garden surrounded by his favorite trees and flowers or go fishing in the Irpin River. Many classic and young poets, artists, and painters fondly remember this small estate, where various literary meetings were held, until Rylsky moved to a new dacha in Holosiiv. The son of the writer, Bohdan Rylsky, dedicated a whole chapter in his book of memoirs "A Journey to His Father's Youth" to the Irpin period of Maxim Rylsky's life and his family, titled "In Piney Irpin."

Writer Leonid Pervomaisky lived at 1 Kominternu Street from 1953 to 1973. It was here that he wrote many famous works, including the novel "Wild Honey".

Ukrainian writer Mykhailo Stelmakh lived at his dacha on Severinivska Street, 85 in Irpin from the beginning of the 1950s until 1983. He was one of the first in post-war literature to address the issue of the Great Famine of 1932-1933 and the struggle of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists- Ukrainian Insurgent Army against the Soviet Union.

Irpin is also known on the literary map of Ukraine thanks to the knights of Ukrainian translation, Hryhoriy Kochur and Dmytro Palamarchuk, who met in the hell of northern concentration camps, where they ended up for ten years on charges of Ukrainian nationalism. From the beginning of the 1960s, they chose Irpin as their permanent place of residence.

Hryhoriy Kochur was the laureate of the Shevchenko State Prize and the Rylsky Literary Prize, knew 30 languages, and translated from 25 languages of the world. His modest house on Baumana Street (now Kochur Street) had the unofficial name "Irpin University", where many Ukrainian translators studied. He inspired a cohort of "sixties" with his enormous intellect, including Vasyl Stus, Ivan Dziuba, Lina Kostenko, Ivan Drach, Dmytro Pavlychko, Leonid Cherevatenko, Yevhen Sverstyuk, and others.

The Creative Spirit Square in Irpin

The creative legacy of Dmytro Palamarchuk, the laureate of the Rylsky Prize, is also very significant in Ukrainian literature. His works can form a whole library of translations from foreign languages, including Shakespeare, Byron, Tagore, Baudelaire, and Petrarch. Both Grygoriy Kochur and Dmytro Palamarchuk are buried in Irpin.

Lina Kostenko, a guardian of Ukrainian culture and a poet, has often visited Irpin, not just the House of Writers. From the fall of 1971 to the summer of 1972, she rented an apartment on present-day Slovianska Street in Irpin, next door to the Palamarchuk residence. Later, she lived for two years in the house of Grygoriy Kochur. The poetess wrote a series of beautiful intimate poems in Irpin.

The poet, historian, ecologist, and participant of the dissident movement Danilo Kulyniak and the writer, journalist, publicist, and scientist Natalia Okolitenko lived on Kalinina street (now Kulyniaka street) in Irpin from 1990 to 2016.

On Mayakovskoho street, 13 in Irpin from 1980 to 2012, the Shevchenko scholar, art historian, writer, collector of Ukrainian art, and distinguished artist of Ukraine Volodymyr Yatsyuk lived. He was an avid collector of Shevchenko memorabilia and his private collection was the largest in the world, with over 1300 postcards related to Shevchenko's name.

So many literary works were written in Irpin that no other settlement with a similar population is likely to catch up to this writing city. Writers mentioned the place of writing in their works and often the last line read "Irpin".

Volodymyr Sosiura wrote poetic collections "Green World" and "Swallows in the Sun" here. Andriy Malishko wrote poetic collections "Beyond the Blue Sea", "Spring Book", and "What I Wrote". Maxym Rylsky created a poem "Desire", "Fishing Sonnets", a series of poems ("Young Orchard", "Night Rocking", "Spring Rolls with Smoke", "Meditations") in Irpin. Pavlo Zagrebelny wrote novels "Wonder", "First Bridge", "Death in Kyiv", "Evpraksiya", "Lion's Heart" and "Roxolana". Ivan Honcharenko wrote a cycle of poems "Irpin Meetings".

On the land of Irpin, several famous writers have emerged, including Ostap Vyshnya ("Hunting Smiles"), Leonid Pervomaisky (the novel "Wild Honey", the collection of poems "Yesterday and Tomorrow"), Mykhailo Stelmakh (the novels "Four Crossings", "Bread and Salt", "Human Blood is Not Water", "Big Family", "Truth and Untruth", "Thought of You"), Oleksandr Dovzhenko (the screenplay for the movie "Earth"), Stepan Vasylychenko (the novella "In the Grass"), Hryhoriy Kochur (the books of poetic translations "Echo", "Second Echo", "Third Echo"), Dmytro Palamarchuk (the book of original poems "Bells", translations of works by Shakespeare and Byron), Hryhir Tyutyunnyk (the short story "Katrya's Return"), Yuriy Mushketik (the novels "Haidamaky", "Yasa", "Hetman's Treasure", "Heart and Stone", the novellas "Black Bread", "Semen Palii", "Fires in the Night"), Yevhen Hutsalo (the poetic collection "Green Joy of Lilies-of-the-Valley", the collections of short stories "Apples from the Autumn Garden", "People Among People", the novels "Borrowed Man", "Private Life of Phenomenon"), Oleksa Yushchenko (the collection "Trains are Rumbling around Irpin", the book of memoirs "In My Memory", the poetic collections "Meeting with Beauty", "I Bow to You", "Word to Friends") and Ivan Drach ("Poems").

In 2018, on the occasion of the City Day, Irpin received a significant literary gift - the collective collection "Rhymed Irpin". It includes poetry by 126 authors dedicated to Irpin and the House of Writers.

New book presentations regularly take place in the city library and various cozy cafes. The Capranov brothers (the novel "Forget-River"), Lidia Kardash ("Maidan-Starting Point"), Volodymyr Korotia ("Adventures of the Phantom") and other authors presented their works here. The "Summit-Book" publishing house regularly presents its literary novelties. One of the latest is "Ukrainian Dream. 25 Steps to Social Happiness" - a collection of views from famous Ukrainian thinkers and activists on creating conditions for everyone's happiness.

In the House of Writers, Creative Youth Seminars were held annually in May in the 2000s, organized by the Union of Ukrainian Writers. These seminars have helped young writers to develop their talents and bring new voices to the world of literature.

Monument to the author in the Irpin Writers' Park.

In 2019, the unique international festival of translators "Kochur Fest" was initiated by the Irpin City Council and the publishing house "Samit-Kniga" in honor of the Ukrainian writer and poet Hryhoriy Kochur. Over the years, the festival has had participants such as French writer and translator, director of a number of European literary festivals Nicole Laurent-Katris, Italian writer and translator, founder of the poetry festival "Europe in Verses" Laura Garavaglia, Serbian writer and translator, member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Serbia Milutin Djurickovic, as well as other popular and authoritative foreign writers.

There are many places in Irpin associated with literature. Since 2014, 11 streets in the city have been renamed in honor of writers who lived there, such as Rylskyi Street and Alley, Kochur Street, Stelmakh Street, Rybaka Street, Palamarchuk Street, Kulynyak Street, Hnatiuk Lane, Malyshev Lane, Honchar Street, Hutsal Street, and Dovzhenko Street. Two literary murals have been created: a large image of Neznayka on Antonov Street and a bookshelf with works by Ukrainian writers that is 30 meters long, painted on garages on Slovianska Street. The House of Writers Creativity has a park dedicated to writers, created at the expense of the Irpin City Council in 2017. In the Writers' Park, there is an Alley of Readers and a monument to the Author. The whole Neznayka Park is dedicated to the hero of the works of Mykola Nosov, which smoothly flows into the Square of Creative Spirit. Across the road from it is the Central Square of Irpin with the main symbol of the city - a large monument to young Taras Shevchenko. On one side of the monument, there is a museum of the history of Irpin, where artifacts of the lives of outstanding writers in the city are collected, and on the other side, there is the Maxim Rylsky Central Library, where meetings with famous Ukrainian writers are held every month. In addition, there are plans to create an Alley of Books, where memorial signs will be placed for books by Ukrainian writers.

Monument to the young Taras Shevchenko as a poet and artist

There is also Irpin Literary Award in the city - an annual nationwide literary award founded in 2020 by the "Brave" Society and the Investment Council of Irpin. The aim of the award is to discover new authors and motivate them to further creativity. Currently, the award has five nominations: prose, poetry, special prize "Literature for Children", award "For the Best Books by Ukrainian Authors" and a new nomination "For the Best Literary Work of a Serviceman or War Veteran in the War with Russia". In the competition for the 2021 award, 261 authors took part. Five laureates will receive 100,000 UAH each, and the total award fund of the Irpin Literary Award, starting from 2023, will be 500,000 UAH. Irpin Literary Award is the largest private literary award in Ukraine. In July 2021, a collection of works by the first laureates of the Irpin Literary Award, titled "Words of the Brave", was published. The book was published at the expense of the "Brave" Society.

Instead of a conclusion: Irpin has been, is, and will remain the literary capital of Ukraine. And this is extremely important, because the Ukrainian language is another important Ukrainian weapon. And the development of the language is impossible without significant literary and artistic traditions. Therefore, Irpin, as always, will stand guard not only against approaches to the capital of Ukraine but also against the development of literature.