Liudmyla Starytska-Cherniakhivska, the author of Living Grave: A Ukrainian Legend, was born in Kyiv in 1868. She wrote poetry, prose, drama and literary criticism for various publications including the Lviv almanac, Pershyi Vinok. Her novella Living Grave appeared in 1889 in the journal Kyivska Starina (Kyiv Antiquity).
Starytska-Cherniakhivska supported Ukrainian national causes. In 1919 she became co-founder and deputy president of the National Council of Ukrainian Women. The Soviets arrested Liudmyla, when she was in her sixties. They convicted her during a show-trial of members of the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine in 1930. They sentenced her imprisonment and exile. In June 1941, as a 73 year-old woman, she was again arrested and accused of involvement in anti-Soviet activities. The Soviets tortured her.
Liudmyla died during the journey to exile in Kazakhstan, and her body was thrown from the train at a location still unknown.