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Nataliya Gumenyuk, Ukrainian journalist, author, documentary filmmaker, the CEO of the Public Interest Journalism Lab, has been chosen as the curator of the focus theme of the 11th International Book Arsenal Festival.

Nataliya Gumenyuk. Photo: Oleksandr Popenko © Mystetskyi Arsenal

Nataliya Gumenyuk is a Ukrainian journalist, documentary filmmaker, and author specializing in conflict reporting. She is the CEO of the Public Interest Journalism Lab which researches, creates, and promotes best practices of public interest journalism in the digital age. She is the lead journalist and co-founder of The Reckoning Project, an international initiative of journalists and lawyers to document war crimes during the Russian war against Ukraine. Nataliya is the author of several documentaries and books, including The Lost Island: Tales From The Occupied Crimea, and Maidan Tahrir

When Everything Matters” is the chosen focus theme of the 11th Book Arsenal Festival. Here is how Nataliya Gumenyuk describes it:

We are living in a time of aggravated reality when almost every word and every phrase acquires its original meaning. As if everything around is going through a reality check. In particular, our values and ideals.
The 11th Book Arsenal is a space for recognizing, as well as creating a new civic vocabulary for the things that we have not yet verbalized. This is a place where, by reflecting on our current experience, we will be able not only to comprehend, but also to word ourselves and what is going on with us, with society, with the country, and with the world

— Nataliya Gumenyuk, the curator of the focus theme “When Everything Matters”

The 11th Book Arsenal has also chosen Iryna Slavinska, the Executive Producer of Radio Culture, translator and writer, as the curator of the main literary program.

Iryna Slavinska. Photo: Oleksandr Popenko © Mystetskyi Arsenal

Iryna Slavinska is the Executive Producer of Radio Culture, translator and writer. Member of the European Broadcasting Union Radio Committee. Member of PEN Ukraine. Slavinska is the author of the books My Spare Lives, Stories of Talented People, 33 Heroes of Ukrainian Literature, Almost Adult, Adult Indeed. She is a French translator. Among her translation works are the novel Compass by Mathias Enard (the Old Lion Publishing House) and the monograph Le premier sex (Osnovy Publishing) by André Rauch.

The festival program of events, in addition to the events of the focus theme and the events of the literary program, will also include the Kids and Teens program, curated by Yuliia Kozlovets. The special program by the Literary Laboratory of the Mystetskyi Arsenal, curated by Dima Kazakov, will be about little traveling, homeless libraries, real and online archives, collecting, personal book and vinyl collections, curated shelves, and zines. The special program of events will also be presented by PEN Ukraine.

As usual, the projects by illustrators, graphic designers, and font designers will be presented at the fair and in the festival program. In addition, professional events for the publishing community are planned.

Since 2017, the International Book Arsenal Festival has been choosing a focus theme that invites the participants and visitors to seek answers to current issues together. Every focus theme has a curator. “Laughter. Fear. Power”, the focus theme of 2017, was curated by Tetiana Teren. “The Project of the Future” in 2018, “Neighborhood: an Open Question” in 2019; Vira Baldyniuk curated the focus themes of both years. Rostyslav Semkiv was the curator of “Optimists Skeptics”, the focus theme of the 10th Book Arsenal Festival. 

For the Book Arsenal 2022, the focus theme “The Migration Period” was chosen, curated by Oksana Forostyna. The Book Arsenal 2022 was canceled due to the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.


The International Book Arsenal Festival (IBAF) is an annual event organized by the Mystetskyi Arsenal since 2011. During this decade it has become one of the most influential literary and art events in Eastern Europe. In 2019, IBAF won The Literary Festival Award of The London Book Fair International Excellence Awards 2019. 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.