Espreso. Global

Iron Widow author Xiran Jay Zhao calls for donations to support Ukraine

3 June, 2024 Monday
16:48

Canadian writer Xiran Jay Zhao, whose novel's Ukrainian translation was published in the Factor Druk Printing House destroyed by Russian troops, called for support for Ukraine

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Xiran Jay Zhao shared this message on Instagram.

Xiran Jay Zhao, the Canadian-Chinese author of the New York Times bestseller Iron Widow, recorded a video about the Ukrainian translation of her book. The Kharkiv-based Vivat publishing house released the Ukrainian version, printed at the Faktor Druk Printing House, which was destroyed by a Russian missile on May 23.

Subscribers asked Zhao to discuss the Ukrainian edition. She mentioned that there’s an interesting backstory. Initially, Zhao's publisher negotiated with Ukrainian publishers without much hope, given Ukraine's wartime situation. However, after some time, Vivat representatives returned, ready to purchase Iron Widow.

"I think this just goes to show the resilience of the Ukrainian people, they are not going to let this Russian aggression stop them from living their lives or spreading their culture, and I am so honored to have my book in the Ukrainian language. Russia will not erase it no matter how hard they try," said the author.

She explained that her video was recorded before May 23, when Russia bombed the Factor Druk Printing House. Xiran Jay Zhao, with an international audience, listed on her Instagram the 7 printing press workers killed by Russia: printer-sealer Tetyana Khrapina, gluing machine operator Roman Strohyi, booklet maker Svitlana Ryzhenko, sewing machine operators Olha Kurasova and Olena Ninadovska, assembly operator Anna Mynaieva, and brochure maker Dmytro Shylo.

"Kharkiv, the city the facility was located in, is being shelled daily and the situation is brutal. On May 25 they also hit a market and killed at least 18 people. There's so much aid that should be going to Ukraine that's going ELSEWHERE. To help, you can donate to Ukraine's official fundraising platform @u24.gov.ua or @novaukraine specifically for humanitarian relief," the author added.

Xiran Jay Zhao also showed a burnt copy of Iron Widow.

Iron Widow is a 2021 science fiction novel about eighteen-year-old Wu Zetian, who decides to avenge her sister's death and joins the army against space invaders.

Russian attack on typography in Kharkiv

On Thursday, May 23, Russia launched a missile attack on Kharkiv, hitting the Faktor Druk Printing House, one of the largest in Europe. This facility prints books for almost all Ukrainian publishing houses. The strike resulted in 7 deaths and 21 injuries. On May 25, the Vivat publishing house released the names of the seven individuals who died in the attack.

Faktor Druk Printing House is part of the Faktor group, which also includes Vivat Publishing House and Vivat Bookstores. The printing house also produced books for other publishers, including the Family Leisure Club Publishing House.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reported that 50,000 books were destroyed in the attack. Serhiy Polituchyi, owner of Faktor Druk, stated that the strike will reduce the industry's capacity by 40%.

On May 27, Vivat Publishing House published a list of books destroyed in the attack.

On May 31, it was announced that the foundation of American billionaire and philanthropist Howard Buffett will help restore the printing house destroyed in the May 23 strike.

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