Resistance with the power of words

Even when a person is still a child, you can see whether they have a knack for words or not. For example, they write good essays without adults’ help, have a well-developed imagination and can express ideas clearly. Moreover, they try to write their own stories or compose poems. If so, that’s a good ground for a good writer. Further success requires aspiration, perseverance and daily work. This is the opinion of the organizers of the literary marathon among writers “Russia’s war against Ukraine. Resistance,” a project that started in Zhytomyr a few months ago.

During the first stage of the marathon “Loading. Act I” the jury determined the best literary works affirming the ideals of humanism, patriotism, the national and cultural revival of Ukraine, and depicting the Ukrainian people’s struggle for the independence against the Russian aggressor.

33 participants submitted applications to participate in the marathon, about 100 literary works were mailed to the organizing committee. The works were evaluated by directors, writers, actors, and cultural managers. They not only evaluated the participants’ works, but also helped organize performances and declamations.

On September 29, 2022, a ceremony of awarding the winners of the first stage of the literary marathon “Russia’s war against Ukraine. Resistance” was held at the Zhytomyr Academic Music and Drama Theater.

The Drama Theater together with the public organization “Main Stage” initiated this literary marathon in partnership with the Zhytomyr Regional Literary Museum, the O. Olzhych Regional Universal Scientific Library, with the support of the NGO “Modern Format” (as part of the “Voices of Communities” mini-grant competition), and the Department of Culture and Tourism of the Zhytomyr Regional Military Administration.

An exciting performance took place on the main stage of the Zhytomyr region, the energy of which was amazing. Actors and authors stood together on the same stage in twilight, without unnecessary pathos, decorations, special effects and make-up. The actors were reading the marathon participants’ works, which touched the audience very deeply. Each story that was emotionally and sincerely brought to life by the professional actors during the stage readings was familiar and close to the audience.

The project turned out to be so successful, in demand and on time that its continuation was logical. Therefore, in November 2022, the organizers announced the beginning of the literary competition “Resistance/Children. Act II.” In early December, the submission of applications was completed. Young authors aged from 7 to 18 participated in the second stage of the marathon. Almost 70 children mailed to the committee their poems, stories and fairy tales, in which they showed how they see the war, shared their feelings and experiences, dreams and hopes.

As part of the project, the stage readings performed by professional actors are held for local school students. Besides, there was a literary workshop for children, during which they learned how to start writing, where to find inspiration for creativity, what the writing tools are, as well as tried to create their own stories.

According to the author of the project idea, head of the NGO “Main Stage” Nina Ryabenko, recently the representatives of the radio group that broadcasts in the temporarily occupied territory have offered the organizers to broadcast the poems of the winners of the “Resistance marathon” competition.

It is important that the literary marathon does not end with the completion of a certain stage of the competition and the summary of its results. It continues to spread all over Ukraine and proves the importance of the word and unity of a strong-spirited nation that fights back on all fronts!

Photos from the Facebook page of the literary marathon “Resistance”

Olha Bortnikova


The material was created under the joint project of Ukraine Crisis Media Center and the Estonian Center for International Development with the financial support of the US Embassy in Kyiv and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia.