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The International Book Arsenal Festival together with BolognaBookPlus, the general publishing arm of the Bologna Book Fair,  are happy to announce an open call for the Ukrainian publishers to submit their edition for the Talking Pictures, an ongoing initiative of BolognaBookPlus centering on the visual book and contemporary publishing. 

The aim of the Talking Pictures initiative is to celebrate excellence in international  book production for the adult market, highlighting editorial innovation in the use of images and of the book-as-object, as well as recognizing boundary-crossing applications of visual imagery in contemporary publishing. The highlighted country of Talking Pictures in 2024 is Ukraine.

It is commonly acknowledged that we eat with our eyes, not our stomachs. Similarly, our appetite for books is whetted by the visual,  devouring the words within after being enticed by the cover…Each time I visited Kyiv and its bookshops I was struck by the immense care and attention to detail that was lavished on the design of books – both inside and out. BolognaBookPlus is delighted to showcase the books that have been published in Ukraine over the past challenging years and the industry talent that has contributed to them

Jacks Thomas, Guest Director, BolognaBookPlus.

Submission criteria:

  • Books published by Ukrainian publishers and created by Ukrainian creators,
  • Books published in 2021-2024,
  • Books for the adult market audience.

Eligible genres, but not limited to, are: illustrated books, graphic novels, books on graphic design, photography, fine art, architecture and design. 

We are pleased to be partners with BolognaBookPlus in the Talking Pictures Initiative and to expand the opportunities for introducing our best names and titles and presenting Ukrainian illustration and book design to global audiences. Bologna Book Fair is the powerful platform, participation in which attracts attention internationally, gives an opportunity to introduce Ukrainian cultural phenomena as part of the global agenda, thus encourages dialogue, and stimulates cooperation between the book creators. For us, this project is aimed at developing international cooperation and exchanges, not just at unilateral presentation of Ukrainian books abroad

Yuliia Kozlovets, Director of the International Book Arsenal Festival.

To submit the book, please fill the Form. After filling the form the applicant must send two printed copies of the book to the IBAF office. The deadline for submitting applications and printed copies for the Contest is February 20, 2024, inclusive. Please send physical book copies by post or courier to the address of the Mystetskyi Arsenal office: NACMC “Mystetskyi Arsenal”, 10–12 Lavrska St., Kyiv, 01010. Contact person for delivery — Maryna Lymarenko, +380987087244.

To submit

Upon the submitted editions the jury will select a collection of the best Ukrainian visual books for the adult market that will be exhibited at Bologna 2024 and at the International Book Arsenal Festival in 2024. The jury will choose the winner of the Talking Pictures prize to be announced at the BolognaBookPlus theatre and awarded at the International Book Arsenal Festival. Additionally the winner will be invited to participate at the BolognaBookPlus 2025.

Judging criteria will include: 

  • Publishing goal, 
  • Design, 
  • Typographic quality,
  • Originality and innovation,
  • Successful use of images and illustrations to convey narratives.

Talking Pictures is curated for BolognaBookPlus by a team of visual arts experts based in Italy and New York: 

Steven Guarnaccia is an illustrator and Professor Emeritus of Parsons School of Design, a former Op-Ed art director of the New York Times. 

The Hamelin Agency, Bologna is an association that deals with reading and books. Hamelin runs training courses for librarians, booksellers and teachers, organizes cultural events, and offers design and curation services for illustration exhibitions. 

Contact email for further questions and details (indicate “Talking Pictures” in the subject line of the letter) — [email protected]

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) — three global book events for international rights and licensing trading that take place annually in the eponymous Italian city, where culture meets style and commercial relationships are created.

BolognaBookPlus (BBPlus) was launched in 2020 by BCBF/BolognaFiere, in collaboration with the Italian Publishers Association (AIE), to reach a general publishing audience via a three-day exhibit, training and conferences — among other opportunities — taking place alongside the acclaimed Bologna Children’s Book Fair 8-11 April 2024. Working closely with the Bologna team, BolognaBookPlus is led by Jacks Thomas as Guest Director, supported by a UK team.

The International Book Arsenal Festival is a project of the Mystetskyi Arsenal that has been held annually since 2011. It is an intellectual event in Ukraine, where the book, literary, visual, music and theatre 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.