Melezh, Ivan

Melezh, Ivan Pavlovich


Born Feb. 8, 1921, in the village of Glinishche, present-day Khoiniki Raion, Gomel’ Oblast. Byelorussian Soviet writer. People’s Writer of the Byelorussian SSR (1972). Member of the CPSU (1940).

The son of a peasant, Melezh fought in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45; he was gravely wounded in 1942. Melezh graduated from the department of philology of the Byelorussian State University in 1945 and had begun publishing in 1939. Melezh’s first collection of short stories, In the Snowstorm (1946), his novel The Minsk Direction (books 1-3, 1949-52), and his frontline diary At the Beginning of the War (1969) were devoted to events of the war and battles for the liberation of Byelorussia.

Melezh wrote the collections of short stories and sketches Hot August (1948), The Near and the Far (1954), and Mountain Rains (1957), the play While You Are Young (1956), and the historical revolutionary drama The Days of Our Birth (1958). Melezh’s best known works are the novels People in the Marshes (1961) and The Breath of the Thunderstorm (1965), about the revolutionary reorganization of the patriarchal Byelorussian village, and about Byelorussian villagers, to whom Soviet power gave the opportunity of consciously shaping their history. Both novels are part of the Poles’e Chronicle (Lenin Prize, 1972), written with great epic mastery and a profound knowledge of human psychology.

Melezh was a deputy to the seventh and eighth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the Byelorussian SSR, a member of the World Peace Council (1970), and deputy chairman of the Byelorussian Writers’ Union (1966). He has received four orders and a number of medals.


Zbor tvorau, vols. 1-6. Minsk, 1969-71.
In Russian translation:
Svidanie za gorodom: Malen ’kie povesti i rasskazy. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.


Fadeev, A. “I. Melezhu: Pis’ma.” Sobr. soch. , vol. 5. Moscow, 1961. Pages 513-15.
Kuleshov, F. Ivan Melezh: Ocherk tvorchestva. Moscow, 1971.
Pis’menniki Savetskai Belarusi: Karotki biiabibliiahrafichny davednik. Minsk, 1970.