Mikhail Stelmakh

Stel’makh, Mikhail Afanas’evich


Born May 11 (24), 1912, in the village of D’iakovtsy, in what is now Vinnitsa Oblast. Soviet Ukrainian writer. Hero of Socialist Labor (1972).

The son of poor peasants, Stel’makh graduated from the Vinnitsa Pedagogical Institute in 1933 and became a schoolteacher. He fought in the Great Patriotic War. From 1945 to 1953 he worked at the Institute of Art Criticism, Folklore, and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR. The author of several poetry collections, plays, and children’s books, he published his first works in 1936.

Stel’makh’s novels and novellas reflect the main stages in the life of the Ukrainian village in the 20th century. He wrote a trilogy, comprising A Big Family (1949–50; State Prize of the USSR, 1951), Blood Is Thicker Than Water (1957), and Bread and Salt (1959), which was translated into Russian in 1961 and awarded a Lenin Prize the same year. His other works include the novels Truth and Falsehood (1961; Russian translation, 1962) and Thinking of You (1969) and the children’s novellas The Geese and Swans Are Flying (1964; Russian translation, 1965) and A Fair Evening (1967; Russian translation, 1967).

Stel’makh’s prose is noted for its deep penetration into the psychology of the peasant, rich language, elevated lyrical and romantic style, and abundance of folkloric and ethnographic elements. His books have been translated into many foreign languages.

Stel’makh was a deputy to the sixth through ninth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He has been awarded three Orders of Lenin, four other orders, and various medals.


Tvory, vols. 1–6. Kiev, 1972–73. [Introductory article by B. Buriak.]
Poezii. Kiev, 1958.
In Russian translation:
Mak tsvetet. Moscow, 1974.


Parkhomenko, M. “O romanakh Mikhaila Stel’makha.” In his Obnovlenie traditsii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1975.
Piskunov, V. Trilogiia M. Stel’makha. Moscow, 1966.
Babyshkin, O. Mykhailo Stel’makh. Kiev, 1961.
Burliai, Iu. Mykhailo Stel’makh. Kiev, 1962.
Pro Mykhaila Stel’makha. Kiev, 1972.
Domnyts’kyi, M. Mykhailo Stel’makh. Kiev, 1973.