From Skovoroda to the Present Day: 100 Notable Books in Ukrainian

Special project by PEN Ukraine and The Ukrainians online magazine

Perhaps, everyone of you contemplating on what to read next has seen such selections, as 100 Books of All Times, 100 Best Novels in English, 100 Notable Books by the New York Times …

In many countries around the globe lists of must read books exist. Similar selections are compiled by competent media outlets, libraries, state institutions or renowned authors. Based on these lists publishers then form collections of& Golden Funds of Literature, officials and philanthropists purchase the editions for libraries, and readers form their reading plans.

To date no Ukraine-based edition or institution had not come up with a similar list. This task has been undertaken by Ukrainian Centre of PEN International uniting leading Ukrainian writers, journalists, publishers, translators, scholars and human rights defenders. The compilation process lasted for over six month and included several stages of voting and discussion.

100 works which have entered the final list were selected among nearly 300 suggested by members of PEN Ukraine.


  1. Show abundance and genre variety of Ukrainian literature;
  2. Draw attention of Ukrainian and international readership to significant works which due to certain reasons were forgotten or little known;
  3. Guide publishers, librarians and cultural managers to the works which have to be republished, reconsidered and be available in holdings among Ukraine’s libraries;
  4. Motivate Ukrainian media to write and talk more about Ukrainian literature.

Selection criteria

  1. The list contains works enriching Ukrainian and world literature, characterized by specific author’s style, suggesting new ideas and senses, as well as having influenced the development of Ukrainian language and formation of Ukraine;
  2. The list comprises works in Ukrainian language written in XVIII-ХХІ centuries;
  3. The list represents poetry, prose, playwriting, essayistics, and memoirs, but excludes academic editions;
  4. A work is a novel, story, novella, short story, poem, as well as collections of stories, novels and poems, established by an author as one complete work;
  5. Each other is represented in the list by only one work.

Is this list a canon of Ukrainian literature?

Creators of the list underline the fact that this is not a canon of Ukrainian literature, in particular because it does not represent a large and significant layer of old literature, as well as works in other languages constituting an important part of Ukrainian culture. Moreover, PEN Ukraine unites authors of different age, education backgrounds and different degree of engagement into the contemporary literary process. Therefore, this list is not canonical, although it does illustrate a milestone attempt in methodology establishment for creating such canon.

Eventually, this list has not been designed for philologists, literary scholars or critics. Its primary target audience is readership which has an opportunity to comprehend the multi-faceted essence of Ukrainian literature, to discover forgotten or ignored by school curricula books for yourself, but most importantly to feel joy from reading in your language, about yourself and your country.

Read also:

Foreword to the project by literary critic Tamara Hundorova: Noah’s Ark from PEN Ukraine: TOP 100 significant books in Ukrainian

  1. A Hundred Poems (collection) / Mykola Vinhranovskyi
  2. A Man on the Ice Floe / Kostiantyn Moskalets
  3. A Novel about Human Destiny / Emma Andiyevska
  4. Aeneas and Life of Others / Yuri Kosach
  5. All is Near / Ivan Malkovych
  6. Andriy Lahovskyi / Ahatanhel Krymskyi
  7. Babyn Yar. In Voices / Marianna Kijanowska
  8. Black Council / Panteleimon Kulish
  9. Blue Book / Vasyl Stefanyk
  10. Book of Memories / Mykhailyna Kotsiubynska
  11. Book of Observations / Yevhen Malaniuk
  12. Chasing Two Hares / Mykhailo Starytskyi
  13. Children of Thrills / Vasyl Herasumiuk
  14. Clarinets of the Sun / Pavlo Tychyna
  15. Defilade in Moscow / Vasyl Kozhelianko
  16. Diary / Arkadiy Liubchenko
  17. Dilemma of Ukrainian Faust: Civil Society and "Statebuilding" / Mykola Riabchuk
  18. Diva Obyda / Ihor Rymaruk
  19. Do Oxen Low When Mangers Are Full? / Ivan Bilyk and Panas Myrnyi
  20. Doctor Leonardo’s Travels through the Switzerland of Slobidska Ukraine / Maik Yohansen
  21. Doctor Seraficus / Domontovych Viktor
  22. Door in Daytime / Geo Shkurupii
  23. Eneida / Ivan Kotliarevskyi
  24. Felix Austria / Sofia Andrukhovych
  25. Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex / Oksana Zabuzhko
  26. Flying Head (collection) / Viktor Neborak
  27. Flying Window (collection) / Vasyl Holoborodko
  28. Forest Song / Lesya Ukrainka
  29. Friend Li Bo, Brother Du Fu / Oleh Lysheha
  30. From Top to Bottom / Tanja Maljartschuk
  31. Garden of Divine Songs / Hryhorii Skovoroda
  32. Garden of Gethsemane / Ivan Bahrianyi
  33. Gospel of the Swallow / Iryna Zhylenko
  34. Harvesting Honey / Volodymyr Svidzinskyi
  35. History and Culture / Vadym Skurativskyi
  36. Hotel Central / Bilotserkivets Natalka
  37. House on a Hill / Valerii Shevchuk
  38. I – Myself – Me (and surroundings) / Yuri Sherekh-Sheveliov
  39. I (Romance) / Mykola Khvyliovyi
  40. I Have Only Words / Ivan Svitlychnyi
  41. In the Carnival of History / Leonid Pliushch
  42. Instytutka / Marko Vovchok
  43. Joy Embraced the Sorrow / Oleksandr Oles
  44. Kaidash’s Family / Ivan Nechui Levytskyi
  45. Kamena Mykola Zerov
  46. Karby (collection) / Mykola Bazhan
  47. Knight of Dew / Taras Melnychuk
  48. Kobzar / Mykhail Semenko
  49. Kobzar / Taras Shevchenko
  50. Kyiv Contours (collection) / Attyla Mohylnyi
  51. Mallows / Roman Ivanychuk
  52. Maria / Ulas Samchuk
  53. Master of the Ship / Yuri Yanovskyi
  54. Masterpieces / Yurko Pozaiak
  55. Moses / Ivan Franko
  56. Myna Mazailo / Mykola Kulish
  57. Myths of Metamorphoses, or Search for a Good World / Bohdan Rubchak
  58. Near the Castle / Oleh Olzhych
  59. Notes of a Pug-Nosed Mephistopheles / Volodymyr Vynnychenko
  60. Over the Banks of the Eternal River / Lina Kostenko
  61. Palimpsests / Vasyl Stus
  62. Pavlik Morozov / Les Podervianskyi
  63. Pentateuch / Hrytsko Chubai
  64. Perversion / Yuri Andrukhovych
  65. Reminiscences and Deliberations at the Finish Line / Ivan Dziuba
  66. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestor / Mykhailo Kotsiubynskyi
  67. Siberian Short Stories / Borys Antonenko-Davydovych
  68. Singing Rhymes / Stepan Rudanskyi
  69. Sprout (collection) / Mykhailo Drai-Khmara
  70. Stalinka / Oles Ulianenko
  71. Stone Soul / Hnat Khotkevych
  72. Sweet Darusia / Maria Matios
  73. Tango of Death / Yuri Vynnychuk
  74. The Awakened Muse. The Muse of Captives (complete work) / Ihor Kalynets
  75. The City / Valerian Pidmohylnyi
  76. The Elder Boyar / Todos Osmachka
  77. The Enchanted Desna / Oleksandr Dovzhenko
  78. The Hunter’s Smiles / Ostap Vyshnia
  79. The Green Gospel / Bohdan Ihor Antonych
  80. The Ill-Fated One / Ivan Karpenko Karyi
  81. The Richynski Sisters / Iryna Vilde
  82. The Third Company / Volodymyr Sosiura
  83. The UnSimple / Taras Prokhasko
  84. Three Collections / Yevhen Pluzhnyk
  85. Three Gowks with a Bow (collection) / Hryhir Tiutiunnyk
  86. Toreadors from Vasiukivka / Vsevolod Nestaiko
  87. Ukraine’s Prodigal Sons / Yevhen Sverstiuk
  88. Under the Autumn Stars / Maksym Rylsky
  89. Universe beyond the Barbed Wire / Myroslav Marynovych
  90. Valse mélancholique (Melancholy Waltz) / Olha Kobylianska
  91. Voroshilovgrad / Serhiy Zhadan
  92. Vortex / Hryhorii Tiutiunnyk
  93. Weekday Ballades / Ivan Drach
  94. Witch of Konotop / Hryhorii Kvitka Osnovianenko
  95. Without Bark / Mykola Vorobiov
  96. Wonder / Pavlo Zahrebelnyi
  97. Wozzeck / Yuri Izdryk
  98. Years of Hopes and Losses / Yuri Lutskyi
  99. Yellow Knight / Vasyl Barka
  100. You Live Only Twice … / Leonid Kyseliov