In 2011, the International Book Arsenal Festival was held for the first time. Olga Zhuk was the first curator of the Festival, and Yulia Lesechko was its first technical director. Since then, almost half a thousand well-known international authors from more than 35 countries have been guests of the Festival’s International Program. Every year about 200 Ukrainian publishers present their publications at the exhibition-fair. Among the invited curators of the Festival’s focus theme and special programs during the previous years were Oksana Zabuzhko, Serhiy Zhadan, Andrey Kurkov, Liubov Morozova, Alla Zahaikevych and others.
In 2019 The International Book Arsenal Festival won The Literary Festival Award of The London Book Fair International Excellence Awards 2019. The winners of The London Book Fair (LBF) International Excellence Awards 2019 were announced on 12th March 2019.
5days of the festival
35countries during 9 years
~ 200publishers participating in the book fair each year
15special programs & thematic blocks
> 520guests from different countries during 9 years
> 1000new titles published specially for the festival
450events each year
> 55 000visitors
20 000 м2of exhibition area
The International Book Arsenal Festival
an annual project of the Mystetskyi Arsenal – is an intellectual event in Ukraine, where the book, literary and artistic scenes develop and interact with each other, and important issues of human existence, as well as society and culture are raised, prompting the proactive position of the participants and visitors.
The mission of the Book Arsenal Festival
is to create such interactions between people, communities and institutions, when the combination of aesthetic experience and intellectual engagement in the context of the book enhances the ability of man and society.
The goals of the Book Arsenal Festival are as follows:
- To create a friendly space (offline and online) for the interaction between people, communities and institutions, and representation of the book in all its manifestations
- To stimulate the qualitative development and interaction of the book, literary, and artistic scenes
- To problematize and comprehend the important issues of man, society, and culture
- To integrate the Ukrainian book and literary community with the international one
The festival was cancelled due to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The dates of the Book Arsenal, traditionally in May, were marked by a public conversation "Our Great Migration" which reflected a new dimension of the focus theme of the festival, chosen in 2022. In addition to annual projects, in particular for professional audiences, the team continued its work to support the publishing industry, as well as the literary and art scene in Ukraine. The Book Arsenal focused special attention on informing the global book community about Russia's war in Ukraine, international cultural advocacy of Ukraine, and presenting Ukraine and the festival at various international book fairs and literary festivals. #workingforvictory, #ПрацюємоДляПеремоги and #НаближаємоКнижковий
back to 2022
After a year of pause due the COVID-19 pandemic, the Anniversary 10th International Book Arsenal Festival returned to offline format with the hashtag #дочекаємоськнижкового and the focus theme OPTIMISTS SKEPTICS. The Book Arsenal Festival brought together over 200 publishers, illustrators and cultural institutions. More than 300 events and 16 exhibitions took place within the framework of the Festival, adhering to quarantine norms. This year, the guests from other cities and countries who were not able to come to Kyiv had an opportunity to watch most of the festival events online in a free broadcast on MEGOGO.
back to 2021
Due to the emergency situation in Ukraine caused by the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus resulting in COVID-19, most of the Festival was not held. However, for the first time the Ukrainian Literature: Rights On! professional program took place. The program facilitated 147 B2B meetings with 38 foreigners from 24 countries and Ukrainian publishers and literary agents. The Book Pitch project was launched in 2020 by the Odessa International Film Festival and the International Book Arsenal Festival.
back to 2020
The Literary Festival Award of The London Book Fair International Excellence Awards. After winning the Best Book Design Contest, the book I See That by the Agrafka art studio won the Bronze Medal of the Stiftung Buchkunst annual book design competition "Best Book Design from all over the World", Leipzig/Frankfurt a.M., Germany.
back to 2019
Creation of the first VR book in Ukraine Meeting Tukoni An enormous number of international guests – 106 authors and cultural activists from 31 countries of the world
back to 2018
Birmingham Literature Festival is the guest festival
back to 2017
The launch of the Best Book Design Contest For the first time, the exhibition stand of the Frankfurt Book Fair is at Book Arsenal
The Independent Bookshops Congress. Program for indie publishers. The launch of the Illustrators Fair
The Pastiche Project special philosophy program
The White Ravens most beautiful children books exhibition
New Music Festival in partnership with the UKHO music agency
Start! Almost 100 participants, 30 guests from 10 countries
World stars among our guests:
Фестиваль — майданчик реалізації унікальних проєктів
The Festival has its own award — the Best Book Design Contest
Since 2016, the Book Arsenal Festival, together with the Goethe-Institut in Ukraine, with the support of the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Buchkunst Foundation, has been holding a competition for the best book design among the Ukrainian publishers and cultural institutions. The contest aims to talk about the publication as an art object and to develop the publishing industry in the aesthetic direction.
The award ceremony takes place at the opening of the Book Arsenal Festival, the winning publications and the publishing house’s stand are specially marked at the Festival. Each year, the publications included in the shortlist of the contest are presented within the collection The Most Beautiful Books of the World at the Frankfurt and Leipzig Book Fairs.