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International program


Writers and experts from different countries across the world come to the Book Arsenal Festival to speak out the issues that are important for them and the general public. The Festival’s International Program is a platform for building bridges between cultural communities. The cultural diplomacy in action, which is sometimes more solid than official memoranda, takes place right here: in the discussions at the Europe Cafe Stage, during the lectures at the location for professional events, over a cup of coffee in the Mystetskyi Arsenal’s courtyard near the Outdoor Stage. That’s how intellectuals and artists create connections which don’t depend on the results of elections and referendums.

Public talks, literary readings, discussions on important topics unite people from Ukraine and abroad, who are daily engaged in curating, management, writing, theater, and contemporary art, in short, who work in quite different culture segments. And, just like the Festival visitors relaxing at the next table or listening to performances in the hall, they are interested in current everyday life: they try to feel its pulse in the programs and exhibitions prepared by curators, in the book publishing trends, and in the focus points of arranging each time unique cultural spaces.

What also unites them is the ability to tell stories and do this with a special love for their work. Books begin from stories. Exhibitions tell stories. Every performance on the stage, every recommendation to pay attention is primarily a story, which has got a chance to live on. Some of the ideas behind these stories will germinate here, and others will look for another soil. At the Festival, they all come to life instantly: this is a wonderful multi-day garden of ideas. In the end, it’s a carnival.

We will listen to the stories of beauty and success in the talk dedicated to the centenary of the legendary Bauhaus art school; and learn about food styling as an illustration, talking with Nicky Walsh and Max Faber (Germany); Derek Brazell and Jo Davies (United Kingdom) will tell us about the phenomenon of illustrators. And Meik Wiking, an author of the best-selling The Little Book of Hygge (Denmark), will tell about it from a different angle. We will discuss the role of the translator in retelling stories in different languages, in the languages ​​of countries and communities: the talks with Barbara Cassin (France), Anna Khromova (Israel), Rita Kindlerova (Czech Republic), Rostyslav Nemtsev (Canada), Bohdan Zadura (Poland), and Mark Belorusets (Ukraine) will deepen the reader’s and writer’s understanding of creative processes and interactions. In particular, professor Serhii Plokhy (USA) will tell the stories about history, presenting his book Yalta. The Price of Peace, and Grace Kennan (USA) will tell about it from another perspective during the presentation of her own memoirs in Ukrainian.

The special program involving Canadian authors who will come to our Festival for the first time, and the particular events in partnership with the Frankfurt and London Book Fairs – the global industry leaders – will help us to deeper understand multiculturalism and neighborhood. Tobias Foss, Vice President of the Frankfurt Book Fair, and Olesya Ostrovska-Lyuta, General Director of the Mystetskyi Arsenal, will publicly discuss how political and social changes affect the book stage; Thomas Wohlfahrt, Director of the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin (a meeting place for authors from around the world and German readers) and Bas Kwakman, Director of the Poetry International Foundation (Netherlands) will talk about how the curator can find a balance between ‘pure art’ and the requirements of the general public.