The latest addition to my website is Zinaida Tulub‘s В степу безкраїм за Уралом (The Exile). This is novelised biography of the first exile of Ukraine’s national poet Taras Shevchenko. Shevchenko had written a poem which was fairly flattering about the Tsar but far less so about his wife. The Tsar was furious and Shevchenko was sent first to Orenburg and then to Orsk, both in southern Russia, where life was very hard and he suffered. He was not allowed to write or paint (he was a successful painter as well as poet). He was rescued when he was sent as the official artist on an expedition to the Aral Sea, led by Alexey Ivanovich Butakov which, though hard, he enjoyed. Back at Orenburg, however, things deteriorated and though the book ends here we know he was sent once again into a hard exile. Tulub tells the story well showing the suffering of Shevchenko and also his support for the underdog.