By Oleh Sentsov
Translated by Dmytro Kyyan & Kate Tsurkan
Despite moral pressure and exhaustion, Sentsov's records display his diligence and objective eye as filmmaker and activist.
Publication Date: August 13, 2024
Paperback ISBN: 9781646053162
eBook ISBN: 9781646053315
A remarkable two-book volume: Diary of A Hunger Striker, the first-hand account of celebrated Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, jailed unfairly as a political prisoner, during his 145-day-long hunger strike in a Russian prison; and Four and a Half Steps, his newest collection of short stories. Sentsov’s prison diary begins three days into his indefinite hunger strike, as he calls for the release of all political prisoners in Russia. Frank, sharp, and detailed, the diary recounts day after day of observations and thoughts about his daily life, from interactions with guards, police officers good and bad, to his thoughts on fellow writers and the world outside his cell.
Oleh Sentsov is a Ukranian filmmaker and writer from Crimea, best known for his 2011 film Gamer. Sentsov was arrested in May 2014 in Crimea on suspicion of “plotting terrorist acts,” after participating in the Euromaidan demonstrations that led to the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and helping deliver supplies to trapped Ukrainian troops during Russia’s occupation of Crimea. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, causing an outcry by international human rights groups who condemned his imprisonment as a fabrication by the Russian government in an attempt to silence dissent, and calling for investigations into reports of torture and witness coercion. In 2017 he was given the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award.
Sentsov’s work includes several scripts, plays, and essays, as well as two short films, A Perfect Day for Bananafish and The Horn of the Bull. In May of 2018, he went on a hunger strike to protest the incarceration of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia. He was released from prison as part of a prisoner exchange in late 2019 as Deep Vellum sent his book of stories, Life Goes on Anyway, to print.
Dmytro Kyyan is a Ukrainian-American writer, editor, and translator from Kharkiv. From the 1990s to the early aughts he was the editor-in-chief of Foto & Video Magazine and under his direction, it became the leading publication in photography throughout Eastern Europe.
Kate Tsurkan is a writer, editor, and translator. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Harpers, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and elsewhere. She is the founding editor of Apofenie Magazine.