(born in 1961, Lviv)
Irvanets originally became known in 1985 as the co-founder (together with Yurii Andrukhovych and Viktor Neborak) and of the Bu-Ba-Bu poetic group where he earned his first literary ‘title’ as the Treasurer. The group used Neo-Baroque mindset and carnivalesque merrymaking to free Ukrainian language and literature from the constraints of taboos and colonial mentality.
Born in Lviv in 1961, Irvanets grew up in Rivne. His novel Rivne/Rovno (2001) is set in this city that is shown as divided into Rivne (its Ukrainian name) and Rovno (Russian) by a wall symbolizing the post-Soviet ‘schizophrenic’ mentality. The old and the new can neither be reconciled nor separated.
Irvanets graduated from the Teachers’ College of Dubno in 1980 and worked as a teacher for several years. In 1989, he graduated from the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow and now lectures in the Ostroh Academy.
Irvanets wrote several books of poems, including A Bonfire in the Rain (1986), Shadow of the Great Classic (1991), Poems from the Last Decade (2001), Preambles and Texts (2005) and others. His writing style is ironic and often sarcastic, desacralizing big symbols as in his famous poem Love! (‘Love Oklahoma…’), a parody of the opening lines of Love Ukraine!, a classic patriotic poem by Volodymyr Sosiura. However, there are also insightful lyrical pieces. Irvanets wrote several prose works after Rivne/Rovno, including the novella Ochamymria (2003) and novels Liebenkraft’s Disease (2010) and Kharkiv 1938 (2017).
Oleksandr Irvanets also writes for stage and screen. His book Five Plays (2002) was translated into German, French, English, Polish and Croatian. Irvanets also contributed to the screenplay of Oles Sanin’s movie The Guide (2013).