Born in West Ukraine, J.Melnik is graduated from Lviv University and did his postgraduate studies at Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow. He worked as a magazine writer for Elle (magazine). In 1997, the novel Les Parias d’Eden (The Pariahs of Eden) was published by Robert Laffont Publishers in Paris. It received accolades from France’s literary critics and was praised by the country’s press. Critics call him a mystic and existential writer. He lives between Lithuania and France.
J.Melnik was a well known critic in Ukraine before moving to Lithuania and becoming a Lithuanian writer of Ukrainian descent. However, he has in 2012 enjoyed a literary return to Ukraine and Ukrainian. He's a winner of numerous competitions and awards, author of more than ten books which have been published in European countries. Melnik's books have been among the best Lithuanian and Ukrainian books of the year a number of times, the book Kelias į rojų (The Road to Paradise) have been nominated for Europe Book Prize, and his novel Distant Space won BBC Book of the Year in 2013. His book, The Paris Diary (2013) became a bestseller in Lithuania. Melnik's dystopian novel "Remote Space" (Distant space) won BBC Book of the Year in 2013. It was published in French in 2017 as Espace lointain (Agullo editions, translated from Lithuanian). The novel was awarded a prize for the Book of the Year in France (LIBR'A NOUS 2018, the Imaginary category : 250 bookstores of Francophone countries elected a long list, then a shortlist and finally a winner. Choice of 400 novels). His dystopian novel Masha, or the Fourth Reich (published in Lithuanian as ‘Maša, arba Postfašizmas’) is shortlisted for “Books of the Year 2014”. In 2016 it was published in Ukraine (shortlisted for the BBC Book Of The Year 2016), and became a bestseller. "In a futuristic novel with a sharp plot titled “Masha, or the Fourth Reich”, which was described by critics as a “shocking work about Nazis and intense love”, the author develops anti-utopian genre and analyzes the sins of humanity" (Planet News review). His work is characterized by its constructivist and philosophical approach, by existential problems and intriguing combinations of science fiction and realism. Critics call him “a Neo-Symbolist of Lithuanian literature” "Yaroslav Melnyk is the most cosmopolitan Ukrainian writer of the 21st century" (British library, London) All of his books in Ukrainian prose were finalist's books of the “BBC Ukrainian Book of the Year” (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016)