Kalani Pickhart


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In 1913, a Russian ballet incited a riot in Paris at the new Théâtre de Champs-Elysées. “Only a Russian could do that," says Aleksandr Ivanovich. “Only a Russian could make the whole world go mad.”

A century later, in November 2013, thousands of Ukrainian citizens gathered at Independence Square in Kyiv to protest then-President Yanukovych’s failure to sign a referendum with the European Union, opting instead to forge a closer alliance with President Vladimir Putin and Russia. The peaceful protests turned violent when military police shot live ammunition into the crowd, killing over a hundred civilians.

I Will Die in a Foreign Land follows four individuals over the course of a volatile Ukrainian winter, as their lives are forever changed by the Euromaidan protests. Katya is an Ukrainian-American doctor stationed at a makeshift medical clinic in St. Michael’s Monastery; Misha is an engineer originally from Pripyat, who has lived in Kyiv since his wife’s death from radiation sickness; Slava is a fiery young activist whose past hardships steel her determination in the face of persecution; and Aleksandr Ivanovich, a former KGB agent who climbs atop a burned-out police bus at Independence Square and plays the piano.

As Katya, Misha, Slava, and Aleksandr’s lives become intertwined, they each seek their own solace during an especially tumultuous and violent period. The story is also told by a chorus of voices that incorporates folklore and narrates a turbulent Slavic history.


While unfolding an especially moving story of quiet beauty and love in a time of terror, I Will Die in a Foreign Land is an ambitious, intimate, and haunting portrait of human perseverance and empathy.


A portion of proceeds of this novel will be donated to the Ukrainian Red Cross 



This bighearted novel generously portrays the unforgettable set of characters through their determination to face oppression. It’s a stunner.




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Kalani Pickhart is the author of I Will Die in a Foreign Land, which has received praise from CBS, The Washington PostCosmopolitan, Buzzfeed and more. The novel has been recently long-listed for the Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award and has been named a finalist for the Young Lions Fiction Award. 


Kalani was selected as an inaugural 2022 New Voices Literary Fellow for the Sun Valley Writer's Conference, and has been the recipient of fellowships from the Virginia G. Piper Center and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Intelligence for Eastern European and Eurasian Studies. 

She currently lives and writes in Phoenix, Arizona. 

photo by Sydney Cisco


Upcoming Events

  • Sun Valley Writers' Conference
    Sat, Jul 16
    Sun Valley Writers' Conference
    Jul 16, 7:00 AM – Jul 18, 7:00 PM
    Sun Valley Writers' Conference, 351 Leadville Ave, Ketchum, ID 83340, USA
    Kalani Pickhart will be participating as a Literary Fellow. Complete event schedule TBD.

Agent Alexa Stark, Writers House

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