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January 30 marks the 100th anniversary of the people's writer of Belarus, playwright, publicist, statesman and public person, Hero of Socialist Labour, Ivan Shamiakin.

Ivan Shamiakin was born in the village of Korma, Homiel district, Mahilyow province (now the agro-town of Dobrush district, Homiel region) in the family of a forester. While studying at the Homiel College of Building Materials, he became interested in literature, began to write poetry and became an active member of the literary association of the newspaper “Homiel Prawda”. His first poetic works were published there.

After graduating from the technical school (1940), the young man was assigned to work in Bialystok, but he did not work for long, as he was soon drafted into the army. The service took place near Murmansk, where the Great Patriotic War found him. Ivan Shamiakin went through it it from the first day to the Victory salute. He took part in the battles near Murmansk, Kandalaksha, Petrozavodsk, in the liberation of Poland. He finished the war on the Oder as an officer.

After demobilization (1945), the young writer returned to his native land. He was a teacher in the village of Prakopawka, Tserakhowka District (now the Homiel District), held seminars for agitators at the collective farm in the evenings, at nights, he worked on his pieces under the light of a kerosene lamp. In 1946 he entered the extension department of the Homiel Pedagogical Institute. named after V.P. Chkalov. In 1950, he graduated from the Republican Party School under the Central Committee of the CPB (b) B and soon moved to Minsk.

I. Shamiakin went down into the literature as the author of works about the Great Patriotic War. Even while he was in the active army, the story "At the Snowy Desert" (1944) about the battles with the Nazis in the North was published. The understanding of war as a national tragedy was embodied in his first novel, "The Deep Current" (1947-1948). The most ambitious work of this topic in Belarusian literature is the pentalogy “Anxious Happiness” (1957–1965), where the fates of the heroes are linked to the fate of an entire generation that went through the hardships of war. In the stories "The Wedding Night" (1975), "The Merchant and the Poet" (1976), the novel "Zenith" (1987) I. Shamyakin showed what the war had become for women, what trials had fallen to their lot.


For many decades, starting with the novels "Good Hour" (1953) and "Krinitsa" (1956), the writer raised the most important social, moral and ethical issues of concern to modern society. They harmoniously combine the dynamic development of the plot, the philosophical analysis of life's problems and deep penetration into human psychology. The novels "Heart in the Palm" (1963), "Snowy Winters" (1968), "Atlantes and Caryatids" (1974), "I Will Take Your Pain" (1978) and other pieces entered the golden fund of Belarusian literature. The events of the 1990s aroused anxious feelings in him, which was reflected in the stories "Victims" (1990), "The Fall" and "Satan's Tour" (1995), "Palesie Madonna" (1998), the novel "Evil Star" (1991 ) and etc. In 1999, the story "Glory, Maria!" was published, dedicated to the writer's wife.

Ivan Shamiakin was the author of plays with a wide range of events and themes. Among them are "Don't Believe in Silence" (staged in 1958), "Exam for Autumn" (staged in 1974), "Gold Medal" (staged in 1980), etc. Literary critical articles, speeches, memoirs, portraits of acquaintances and relatives were published in the books "A Talk with a Reader" (1973), "Roots and Branches" (1986), diary entries of "Night Memories" (2002), etc.

The writer's literary activity was recognized not only in Belarus, but also far beyond its borders. Films have been shot based on his pieces, performances have been staged; novels and stories have been translated into different languages of the world.

For his great contribution to the development of literature, Ivan Shamiakin was awarded the high title of People's Writer of Belarus (1972). He was twice awarded the State Prize of the BSSR named after Ja. Kolas (1968, 1982), awarded the Star of the Hero of Socialist Labour (1981), orders and medals. In 1994, he became an academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.

Along with his creative activity, Ivan Shamiakin headed the publishing house “Belarusian Encyclopaedia named after P. Browka ", performed a great public work: for many years he held key posts in the Writers' Union of Belarus, was elected a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, in 1963 he was a member of the Belarusian delegation at the XVIII session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, from 1971 to 1985 headed the Supreme Soviet of the BSSR.


The creative heritage of I. Shamiakin is hig hly appreciated by readers and critics. In 2010–2014, a scientifically commented Collected Works in 23 volumes were published. The documentary films "As Long as there is Strength" and "Moments of life" were made about the talented writer. In 2006, the Mozyr State Pedagogical University was named after I. Shamiakin. For students of philological faculties of universities, a scholarship has been established. named adter Ivan Shamiakin. There is a street in Minsk named in honor of the writer; a memorial plaque is installed on the facade of the house where he lived. At home, in the agricultural town of Korma, there is a monument to him (sculptor D. Papow).

Information about I. Shamyakin and his works can be found in the E-Catalogue of the National Library of Belarus, the online encyclopedia “Belarus in Persons and Events”, the Consolidated electronic catalogue of libraries of Belarus.

Bibliology Research Department



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Author's Point of View

Pride, Prejudice, and Copyright: How Books Reach Public Domain

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One might drop by a bookstore in search of timeless classics, and find… something dubious. "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies"? "New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in Russia"? At first glance, such books are a crime against literature, morality and human taste, but slow down – everything is done within the limits of the law. All books that have become classics are in the public domain, which means they are open to new interpretations. But how do writings get this status? And what happens after? We will try to answer these questions in as much detail as possible, and will understand the public domain inside out.

Author's Point of View

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The Library hosted a presentation of K. Tsybulski's book "I Stay Here" on June 8. The book was published in 2021 by the publishing house "Belarus" with the support of the Ministry of Information of the Republic of Belarus.

National Library of Belarus News