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The 12th International Book Arsenal Festival Has Announced the PROGRAM

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The 12th International Book Arsenal Festival announces the Program, which includes about 160 selected events that will take place in the Old Arsenal building. The events of the Book Arsenal program will become a meeting place for like-minded people: authors, readers, publishers, artists—everyone who works with books. We will meet to talk about our experience: what is happening to us, what is happening to Ukrainian society, what are its concerns, anxieties and hopes, how we can continue being resistant under these conditions.

Book Arsenal will start on Thursday, May 30. On the first day of the festival, 14 events will be held—discussions, presentations, poetry readings, an art therapy workshop and a film performance. On this day, the festival will be open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (entrance to the territory will be allowed from 4 p.m.).

The official opening of the 12th International Book Arsenal Festival will take place on May 30 at 5 p.m. The discussion The Edge Inside Us within the focus theme Life on the Edge will continue the program on this day.

The focus theme Life on the Edge, curated by Tetyana Ogarkova and Volodymyr Yermolenko, will be represented in the program by 9 events:

To understand Ukraine, one should be be at the front, visit the front, help the front. To understand Europe, you have to understand Ukraine. This is the edge which is the center. Even if this is the center that bleeds.

Let us listen for this edge. There is not the end of life there. There is the beginning of it there.

Today it seems to us that to get to the frontline takes eight hours by car. But the frontline runs inside us. In fact, it is already inside us.

The Literature Program Bridging the Gap, curated by Olena Huseinova, will present a number of important intellectual events:

There are so many real explosions on this war-torn land. Tactical backpacks are torn, grenades, mines and shells explode. As well as hearts and veins do. Even if we cannot recognize the sound of an explosion, we can recognize the true meanings of words and experiences, we can avoid the randomness of their use. We can go beyond the edges of intermittent indifference, beyond fantasies about distance, the unbridgeable abyss and gap. We can make a simple choice—to listen for voices, for every voice nearby and every distant voice.

The Kids and Teens Program With Eyes Wide Open will be presented by the curator Olya Rusina:

Now our lives are often a combination of extreme emotions and states, a balance between despair and hope, sadness and gratitude; and, after all, it is these feelings, both positive and negative, that we are now holding on to.

Children and teenagers grow up in this as well. Their first experiences have fallen on two years of the full-scale war, ten years of the war in the East, Russia’s occupation of Crimea and many months of the pandemic. And they will not have any other way of growing up.

The Professional Program of Book Arsenal, curated by Oksana Karpiuk, this year also strengthens the international component of the Festival and launches The Book Arsenal Fellowship Program, within which Book Arsenal is visited by the foreign publishers and literary agents interested in Ukrainian book publishing:

In addition to witnessing the fact of the industry development, an extremely interesting task has fallen to us—to explore and reflect on the processes in the book industry, as well as to search for vectors of the development and going beyond the limits that we have not yet managed to overcome.

The Special Program CITIES ON THE EDGE will be presented by The Fifth Kharkiv in cooperation with the Kharkiv Literary Museum. The curator of the program is Yevhenii Stasinevych:

How can we explain the outburst of cultural life in Kharkiv from both Kharkiv and Kyiv perspectives? Why is culture not falling away according to the principle of residuality but is becoming the core of discussions in the public sphere? Why are there even more conversations about history in our lives today—and if this is the case, what is a more precise view of cities and the country as embodiments of the borderlands?

Thus, cities, thus, the edge. And also war and culture. And we are in the middle of it all. Often lacking the exact words, but having a need to speak. So, let the City help us.

The Special Program THE CONTINUITY OF VOICE will be presented by PEN Ukraine:

Sometimes more and more fatigue can be heard in our voice, but we overcome it to speak to the world in the loud and convincing tone of agency.

And we never allow ourselves to be silent because we speak not only for ourselves but also for those who have been deprived of their voices by Russia and those in whom our voice will continue to be heard.

For centuries, the empire pushed us into voicelessness, but finally, we are reclaiming what belongs to us—our names and our voices.

The Publishers’ Program, the largest at the 12th Book Arsenal, will consist of the biggest number of events.

The visual component of the 12th Book Arsenal will be represented by 10 exhibition projects:

  • Life on the Edge
  • Defilade
  • I Put On a Pixel Camo. Stories of Those Who Have Chosen to Fight
  • In Memory of Us                                                      
  • SIMPLE THINGS by Maryna Talyutto
  • Naïve Ukrainian Gardens by Serhii Polezhaka
  • Obolonya
  • The Dialogues Exhibition. Calligraphy and Font Workshop
  • The Pelican. Zhenya Oliinyk’s Personal Exhibition (the exhibition in the Small Gallery of the Mystetskyi Arsenal)

Within the 12th Book Arsenal you will be able to view four book collections: 

  •         Collection of Award-Winning Publications of The Best Book Design 2023 Contest
  •         Collection of Ukrainian Visual Publications Talking Pictures — 2024
  •         Showcasing over 100 Award Winning German Photobooks
  •         Books from France — 2024: Books for Children and Teenagers, Comics and Graphic Novels

Online tickets for the 12th Book Arsenal are available for purchase by the link.

Book Arsenal is organized in cooperation with Art Arsenal Community NGO. The project is supported by Partnership Fund for Resilient Ukraine (PFRU), funded by aid from the governments of the United Kingdom, Estonia, Canada, the Netherlands, the United States of America, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden.

Book Arsenal — 2024 is also held with the financial support of the Ministry of State for Culture and the Media of Germany within the project Exchange between German and Ukrainian Literary and Book Sectors.