Iya Kiva

(1984 - Present)

Poet, translator, and journalist Iya Kiva was born in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. She grew up speaking Russian and attended Donetsk National University, where she received degrees in Russian philology and cultural studies. In 2014, after Russia annexed Crimea, tensions grew between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian factions in Kiva’s hometown. Kiva and her family, who advocated for the Ukrainian side, were forced to flee, and she became a refugee in Kyiv. There, she began writing poetry in Ukrainian for the first time.

Kiva is the author of the poetry collections Podalshe ot raia (Further from Paradise, 2018) and Persha storinka zymy (The First Page of Winter, 2019) and a nonfiction book on Belarusian writers, My prokynemosʹ inshymy (We will wake up to others, 2021), all of which were listed as best books of the year by PEN Ukraine. Her other honors include the All-Ukrainian Poetry Competition Malachite Rhinoceros, the Nestor the Chronicler Prize, and the Metaphora Translation Prize.

Kiva writes in Russian and Ukrainian and translates from Russian, Polish, and Belarusian. A member of PEN Ukraine, she has served as laureate of multiple international and Ukrainian poetry festivals, and her poems have appeared widely in literary journals. Kiva’s writing has been translated into English, Polish, Lithuanian, French, Ukranian, German, and Czech. She lives in Kyiv.