Natalka Sniadanko

Natalka Sniadanko was born in Lviv, Ukraine in 1973. She studied Ukrainian language and literature at the local University and then went to Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, where she studied Slavonic and Romance studies. After her return, she worked as an editor at the Lviv newspaper »Postup«. Her novel »Kolekcija pristrastej« (2004; t: Collection of passions) appeared two years later and met with enthusiastic acclaim, especially by the younger generation. It is now also available in German, Polish and Russian.

This autobiographically inspired story has a fresh and satirical tone. It tells of the emotional impulses of a young Ukrainian, Olyessa. Nosey and headstrong, the teenager probes the possibilities that appear in her life little by little. Against the advice of her parents, she studies languages and literature and goes to Germany as an au-pair. Set against the background of her first unfulfilled love story and the cumulation of experiences through her relationships with a Ukrainian, a (half) Russian, an Italian and a German, affectionate portraits of Eastern European middle class life in post Soviet times, and of various, national eccentricities unfold. Clichés about men and women, as well as East and West, are affirmed, eroded and exaggerated with relish, and with irony and self mockery played out against each other. »No woman can bear it«, Oljessa learns from the ex-wife of her Italian landlord. »He should have married an Italian. German women simply can’t cope with this patriarchal world. Maybe you are able to find a common language. In the Ukraine, the men hit their wives too, surely and you suffer in silence, right?«

In the travelogue, »Deutschlandreise« (Journey through Germany), Sniadanko also enters German provincial life in search of regional peculiarities, similarities, and differences and again and again takes the focus of attention to the Eastern reaches of Europe beyond the borders of the EU. The author has also published articles in the »Süddeutsche Zeitung« and in the »Gazeta Wyborcza«. She has translated works by Zbigniew Herbert, Czesław Miłosz, Olga Tokarczuk, Franz Kafka, Max Goldt, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Monika Maron, Günter Grass and Feridun Zaimoglu into Ukrainian. Following a number of short stories, her new novel »Syndrom sterylnosti« (t: Syndrome of sterility) was published in 2006, followed by the novella »Czebrec u moloci« (2007; t: Thyme in the milk). In 2007, Sniadanko was a scholarship-holder of the Berlin Academy of the Arts. She lives in Lviv.

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