Marko Vovchok

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Mariya Vilinska
Марія Олександрівна Вілінська
Born 22 December 1833
Yekaterininskoye selo, Yeletsk uyezd, Oryol Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 10 August 1907(1907-08-10) (aged 73)
Nalchik, Tersk Oblast, Russian Empire
Pen name Marko Vovchok
Марко Вовчок
Occupation Writer, translator

Marko Vovchok (Ukrainian: Марко́ Вовчо́к, real name Mariya Vilinska, Ukrainian: Марія Олександрівна Вілінська; 22 December 1833 – 10 August 1907) was a famous Ukrainian writer.[1][2] Her pen name, Marko Vovchok, was invented by Panteleimon Kulish.[3]


Mariya Vilinska was born in 1833 in the Oryol Governorate of the Russian Empire into the family of an army officer and a noblewoman. After she lost her father at the age of 7, she was raised at her aunt's estate and then sent off to study first to Kharkiv and then to Oryol. In 1851 she moved to Ukraine, having married Aphanasyy Markovych, a folklorist and ethnographer who was a member of the Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius.[4] From 1851 till 1858 she lived in Chernihiv, Kiev and Nemyriv, assisting her husband with his ethnographic work and learning the Ukrainian culture and language. In 1857 Marko Vovchok wrote Narodni opovidannya (Folk Stories). It met with immediate acclaim in Ukrainian literary circles, in particular from Taras Shevchenko and Panteleimon Kulish, and in Russia after it had been translated into Russian and edited by Ivan Turgenev as Ukrainskie narodnye rasskazy (Ukrainian Folk Tales, 1859).[5] After a short stay in Saint Petersburg in 1859, Marko Vovchok moved to Europe, where she resided in Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland. From 1867 to 1878, she again lived in Saint Petersburg, where due to the prohibition against the Ukrainian language she wrote and translated for Russian magazines. Vovchok wrote in Russian Zhivaya dusha (The living soul, 1868), Zapiski prichyotnika (Notes of a junior deacon, 1870), V glushi (In the backwoods, 1875) and several other novels. From 1878, she lived in the Northern Caucasus, and in 1885–1893 in Kiev Governorate, where she proceeded with her work on Ukrainian folklore and a dictionary. At the beginning of the 1900s Mariya Vilinska restored her contact with Ukrainian publishers.

In his diary, Dostoyevsky writes extensively about one of Marko Vovchok's stories, "Masha".

Besides writing novels and stories, Marko Vovchok made translations from French into Russian and Ukrainian, including Jules Verne's works.

She died on 10 August 1907 in Nalchik, Russian Empire.

Ukrainian post stamp dedicated to Marko Vovchok.


  1. ^ (Russian) "В Нальчике реставрируют дом-музей писательницы Марко Вовчок". Interfax. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
  2. ^ (Russian) "22 декабря 1833 года родилась Марко Вовчок, известная украинская писательница". Ukrinform. 12 December 2008. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak. Feminists Despite Themselves: Women in Ukrainian Community Life, 1884–1939 (Edmonton: Canadian institute of Ukrainian Studies, 1988), p. 9.
  5. ^ (Russian) "Маркович Марья Александровна (Марко-Вовчок)". Russian Biographical Dictionary. 1896–1918. Retrieved 13 December 2009.