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Letter Z



Author: Oleksandr Sambrus

Translators: Svetlana Payne

Last-year students of the Cinematography Institute have lots of things to do! To get a degree, one needs to pick a suitable topic, write a killer script, and shoot a graduation film…

Last-year students of the Cinematography Institute have lots of things to do! To get a degree, one needs to pick a suitable topic, write a killer script, and shoot a graduation film…

But it is a disturbing time, full of anxiety… Russia has concentrated a powerful military presence on the Ukrainian borders! How could one really focus on one’s work?

Then again, there is hardly any time anyway – the war has already started. Even if almost no one believed it would ever happen, it has broken out… And like a ruthless steamroller, complete with a crudely drawn letter Z on its side, it is now crushing millions of lives…

The book offered to your attention here, is the first attempt at drawing a comprehensive picture, showing exactly the way it all began… This is an epic novel portraying two years of Russian aggression in Ukraine. It is not just a work of imagination, but a non-fiction narrative, too – combining a description of the journey of invented characters with facts, dates, and fierce testimonials…

It is also an investigative novel, the author’s view of the events as they developed before and during the war that, in reality, broke out not in 2022 but as far back as 2014. However, back then it was only a war in Donbas. Whereas now – it is a real ‘big war’. Could it stretch out in perpetuity?

It is also a search for answers to main questions on everyone’s mind: how could it have happened and why? And the most painful of them – for how long may it last?


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Oleksandr Sambrus was born on May 24, 1951, is a distinguished Ukrainian author who writes both in Ukrainian and Russian. A graduate of the Kiev State Taras Shevchenko University, Sambrus specialized in English and French within the Translators’ Department of the Faculty of Romano-Germanic Philology, with an additional focus on world literature.

After completing his education, Sambrus spent several years working abroad before returning to Ukraine in 1993. Upon his return, he played an active role in European projects aimed at transforming Ukrainian society and improving local governance. His insights into these topics found a platform in his work as a columnist for the “Kievskie Vedomosti,” the most widely circulated newspaper in Ukraine during that time, and later for the weekly “Ukraine. Europe. World.” Additionally, Sambrus has been a prominent voice in national media, often focusing on American subjects, and furthered his expertise with studies in the USA under the program “Print press in the USA” in 1995.

Sambrus began his literary journey by contributing ‘small form’ literary pieces to various media outlets. His debut novel, “The Summer Heat. Extravaganza,” was released in digital form by Andronum Publishers in 2015, quickly followed by “The Partially Consumed Marriage. A Collection of Irreconcilable Stories,” a compilation of short stories and a novelette. These works were later published in print by Folio Publishers, one of Ukraine’s major publishers. His subsequent novels, “Uar-Marr. The Drama of Modern Life” (also known as “Springboard to Europe”) and “Our Times Hero,” along with the short story collection “Tsigel-tsigel…” were published by Sumit-Kniga, Kyiv.

A steadfast observer of his nation’s heartbeat, Sambrus chose to remain in Kiev after the Russian military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. His experiences during this turbulent period inspired him to write “Letter Zed,” a poignant response to the conflict. His recent endeavors also include a theatrical play, “Guelder Rose vs Devil,” a metaphorical representation of Ukraine’s resistance, which is currently under literary review.

Oleksandr Sambrus’s works, characterized by a deep understanding of cultural and social dynamics, continue to resonate with readers in Ukraine and beyond.


Svetlana Payne

Dimensions152 × 229 mm

Oleksandr Sambrus

Book Format

Hardcover, Paperback, EPUB, Kindle

Publication date

… 2024


… pages

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Glagoslav Publications