Karatkievič was born in 1930 in Orsha, Vitebsk region. In 1954, he graduated from the Philological Department of Kiev University and taught first in a village school in the Kiev region of Ukraine and then in his home town, Orsha (Belarus). Later, he completed advanced literature courses (1960), and then cinematography (1962), both in Moscow. Literature then became his main occupation. His first published work was a poem that appeared in 1951, that was later followed by three collections of verse. Later, he turned to prose, and had since published a large number of short stories, in collections entitled Chazenia, The Eye of the Typhoon, From Past Ages, and others. He also wrote the novels Unforgettable and The Dark Castle Olshansky. Probably Karatkievič's most popular work is the novel King Stakh's Wild Hunt (Дзікае паляванне караля Стаха, 1964). His novels deal predominantly with Belarus's historical past, including the January Uprising 1863 – 1865. Karatkievič also wrote a number of plays, essays, articles, screenplays for short and feature films, and some very interesting detective and adventure stories. Karatkievič's literary works are marked by romanticism, rich imagery, and emotionalism. A recipient of several national literary awards, he has strongly affected the further development of historical themes in Belarusian literature.