This year, Ukraine is in the focus of the London Book Fair, which opened on April 18 at Olympia London. This Fair brings together cultural institutions involved in the development of book publishing, publishers, technology companies, and etc. Representatives from over 60 countries are participating in the Fair. The Ukrainian pavilion is one of the central locations, and Ukrainian themes are widely represented in the fair’s discussion panels.
On the occasion of the opening of the largest book event, the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, and the Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, Oleksandr Tkachenko, addressed to the participants and guests of the event.
In his video address, the Ukrainian Minister thanked the British for their support to Ukrainians during the war and for the support to the organizers and partners of the Fair, including the London Book Fair, British Council, English PEN, Ukrainian Institute London, Ukrainian Jewish Encounter, Embassy of Ukraine in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ukrainian Institute, PEN Ukraine, as well as everyone who made Ukraine’s participation in this event possible.
“Our writers, musicians, artists, and actors today feel themselves as full-fledged ambassadors of culture, which is finally being recognized as an integral part of the European cultural system. However, we are winning this right at an extremely high cost to ourselves, – said Oleksandr Tkachenko. – Returning to the presentation of Ukrainian literature in the world, I want to emphasize that Ukraine has a strong and powerful voice. You will hear it throughout all the days of the London Book Fair. And I openly call on you to support the literary voice of Ukraine – to buy rights to books by Ukrainian authors, to translate and read Ukrainian and books about Ukraine.”
The Minister emphasized that despite the horrors of the war, Ukraine is already working on a strategy to restore the cultural sector, in particular, libraries and support for book publishing. In early March, the Government of Ukraine approved the Reading Development Strategy for 2023-2032 and its implementation plan, developed by the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy. The implementation of this Strategy is a component of Ukraine’s humanitarian security through the support and development of the book ecosystem.
To remind you, the largest book event will continue until April 21. The concept of the Ukrainian national stand at the London Book Fair 2023 is “Sensitive Content”. This year’s stand was implemented thanks to the authors of the concept, Dariia Bila and Sofia Hupalovska, as well as the Ukrainian Book Institute and partners. This is a deep interpretation of the war-related experiences of Ukrainians. When it is difficult for residents of different countries to even hear about the war unleashed by russia against Ukraine, Ukrainians have witnessed what social networks began to mark as “Sensitive Content”. The installation of the Ukrainian stand features destroyed furniture from three Ukrainian libraries attacked by russian troops. Designers painted the furniture white to make them look like ghosts, memories of peaceful life. As of the end of March 2023, 1,373 objects of cultural infrastructure were damaged. Of these, almost a third – 514 objects – were destroyed, including over 528 libraries.