Viktoriya Ma receives first Anna Droumeva Award
24th May, 2022
We are delighted to share Viktoriya’s statement below:
Literature has no borders.
This was my guiding idea in establishing Literary Agency Ovo in 2019 and these words became our motto. First, I strived to grow the Agency from a complete unknown into one amongst equals, focused on the Ukrainian book market. It was a tough challenge as the market remained in a developmental phase ridden with many post-Soviet prejudices. Since then, we found publishers for almost 30 manuscripts, and this is just the start.
I strongly believe that Ukrainian literature is worthy to be read and admired worldwide. The key to achieving this is licencing translation rights for Ukrainian books internationally. It is almost impossible to do this without direct contacts and if you don’t visit fairs. You also need the funds, which is rarely feasible for literary agents when just starting out: it seems to be a vicious circle.
When I heard about the first call for the Anna Droumeva Award, I was delighted. The approach showed solidarity and willingness to help those who are only starting their way in the industry. It was so fair. I decided to apply.
The war started in Ukraine and I stopped waiting for the final results. I was focused to preserve the team and was consolidating the results already achieved. The letter arrived as a miracle and I received the good news as I crossed the border with my children into Poland. I am honoured to become the first recipient of this Award and I will use it to visit the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.
We have many exceptionally-talented, modern Ukrainian authors who have already received literary awards and become bestsellers in Ukraine, namely Artem Chapeye, Pavlo Matyusha, Pavlo Derevianko and others. The Andrew Nurnberg Associates International offered their kind guidance and support throughout the Frankfurt Book Fair, which I eagerly await and I believe that European editors and beyond will seize the chance to discover my extraordinary authors and have them translated into other own languages.
Selling rights for Ukrainian literature is the main goal for me now. I want to restore the justice because our literature has always been underrepresented on the global market and in the shadow of the Russian canon, which has led some people believe that we are in fact the same nation. Literature can be a weapon too, but a kind one which touches hearts and brings understanding. Reading Ukrainian authors will help people better understand Ukrainians and why our identity is so important for us that many are ready to fight for it. Artem Chapeye and Pavlo Matyusha as well as our crime novel writer Viktor Yankevych have joined the Armed Forces now.
Huge congratulations to Viktoriya, we wish her the very best for the future!
Applications will re-open for the 2023 award on 1st September 2022. Please check the eligibility criteria before applying.