Liudmyla Starytska-Cherniakhivska, 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 was first published in 1889 in the journal Kyivska Starina (Kyiv Antiquity).
Starytska-Cherniakhivska supported Ukrainian nationalist causes, and in 1919 she became co-founder and deputy president of the National Council of Ukrainian Women. In her sixties, Liudmyla was arrested and convicted during a show-trial of the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine in 1930. She was imprisoned and exiled. In June 1941, the 73-year-old woman was again arrested and accused of carrying out anti-Soviet activities, then tortured. She died during the journey to exile in Kazakhstan, and her body was thrown from the train at a location still unknown.