Lina Kostenko was branded the daughter of an “enemy of the people” (the poetess’s father, a brilliant teacher and polyglot who knew 12 languages, was sentenced to 10 years in concentration camps in 1936).
In Soviet times, Lina Kostenko took an active part in the dissident movement, for which she was excluded from the literary process for a long time. Her forced silence lasted for 16 years, and her works were not published in Ukraine. In response to such cruel censorship, the poetess even went on a hunger strike.
After the Chornobyl disaster, Lina Kostenko, the only Ukrainian writer, regularly travelled to the Chornobyl zone for almost 20 years and covered the tragedy in her poetry.
Because of her stubbornness and extraordinary courage, Lina Kostenko is called an Iron Woman. She has always said and written what she wants. Even when her colleagues were afraid of reprisals and kept silent, she openly criticised the authorities. The poetess inherited this steadfastness from her grandmother.
In 2015 the small planet of the Solar System No. 290127 was named Linakostenko, and in 2022 Lina Kostenko received France’s highest award, the Legion of Honour. The poetess dedicated it to the Ukrainian military.