“Millions of Bridges”: slogan of the Ukrainian stand at the Warsaw Book Fair

Ukraine is the Guest of Honor at the Warsaw International Book Fair to be held from 25–28 May in the capital of Poland. Every year, over 90 thousand visitors from different countries come to the fair and over 500 exhibitors participate in it. The program features around 200 professional events. The Ukrainian collective national stand of 200 square meters will be presented at the fair with the slogan “Million of Bridges” by the Ukrainian Book Institute jointly with co-organizers and partners, namely: Warsaw International Book FairHistory and Culture FoundationPolish Book Institute, Ministry of Culture and National HeritageEmbassy of Ukraine in Poland, Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

“Russian aggression has ruined our lives and our cities, has taken away lives of hundreds of thousands of our compatriots, while millions of people have been forced to leave their homes. Still, it has also brought something our common enemy had not anticipated — linked Poles and Ukrainians with bridges of understanding. Thanks to Polish solidarity, hospitality and big heart, Ukrainians know they are not alone on the battlefield. Poland has become a reliable partner, a bridge making it possible for us to stop the planned annihilation of our nation. Poland was the first country to have reached its hand to Ukraine, sheltered hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians and taken care of our children. Poland was the first to act on the book hunger of our children, who have become guests and children of Poland. Every Ukrainian having found shelter in Poland, every Pole helping Ukrainians in their fight with the Russian aggressor, every Ukrainian book in Poland and every Polish book in Ukraine is the bridge of understanding and solidarity. There are millions of bridges, which is the reason for the slogan of Ukraine’s participation. Thanks to incredible initiative and support of the fair’s organizer, History and Culture Foundation and the Polish Book Institute, Ukraine is presented in the status of the Guest of Honor at the Warsaw International Book Fair, and the Ukrainian Book Institute has the honor and responsibility to organize the stand of 200 square meters featuring books of 45 publishing houses, as well as a rich program of events. I am enormously grateful to co-organizers and partners, whose support made it possible for Ukraine to participate in this fair on such a scale,” describes the concept of Ukraine’s participation in the Warsaw International Book Fair this year Oleksandra Koval, Director of the Ukrainian Book Institute.

A total of 45 publishing houses are to present Ukraine at the fair, including: Motornyi Ravlyk, Chas Maistriv, Black Sheep (Books ХХІ Publishing House LLC), Books ХХІ, Yurincom Inter, TUT, Clio, Chytarium, Nora-Druk, Artbooks, Parasolia, Neopalyma Kupyna, Їzhak, Fastbind Ukraine, Vilnyi Viter, Navchalna Knyha Bohdan, Assa, Muzyka O. private entrepreneur, Litera Ltd., Knyholove, Mushlya, Bykhun V. Y., Chas Zmin Inform, Yaslav Publishing House, NashFormat, Samit Knyha, Nika-Center, Anetta Antonenko Publishing House, ІРІО Agency, Vivat, Folio, Old Lion Publishing House, Komora Publishing House, Baltia-Druk, Punkt Publishing, Dukh I Litera, Ranok, Kalamar, Calvaria, the Ukrainian Catholic University Publishing House, Kovcheh Ukraine, Ukrainer NGO, Rodovid, Elibri, Volia.

“We are honored to welcome partners from Ukraine in the role of the Guest of Honor. Inviting the Embassy of Ukraine in Poland and the Ukrainian Book Institute to take part in the Warsaw International Book Fair as the Guest of Honor, I had no doubts that it is a perfect time for Ukrainian literature and its authors to be featured in Poland at the most prominent book event with such a visibility. Giving voice to Ukraine today — certainly more than ever — we can see the role that literature plays in shaping timeless values such as freedom, dignity, honor, courage or a sense of community and solidarity. We are sure that the Warsaw International Book Fair will become a place to promote Ukrainian literature and culture among Polish and international audiences, as well as satisfy the need for contact with native literature among the Ukrainian community in Poland. We hope that the project “Ukraine Guest of Honor of the WIBF 2023” and the festival “The Power of the Word — Polish-Ukrainian Literary Dialogues” organized in the frame of the fair and being a key element of this year’s program will considerably increase the number of fans of Ukrainian literature. In the frame of the organization of the fair, cooperation between Ukrainian and Polish cultural institutions has become a new, unusual experience for all of us, having surely enriched our fair and increased its level,” says Jacek Oryl, director of the Warsaw Book Fair.

The Fair will also host a joint Polish-Ukrainian literary festival “The Power of the Word — Polish-Ukrainian Literary Dialogues.” It is a series of meetings and talks of writers, journalists, intellectuals from Poland and Ukraine, serving the purpose of presenting achievements and exchanging ideas, which emphasizes the role of literature in shaping timeless values such as freedom, dignity, honor, courage or a sense of community and solidarity, which are so important when there is a war going on. The program of the festival was created in cooperation with the Book Institutes of Ukraine and Poland and the organizer of the Fair, the History and Culture Foundation, thanks to co-financing from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

The program of the fair envisages speeches of over 20 prominent representatives of Ukrainian culture, in particular writer Yuriy Andrukhovych; writer and translator Kateryna Babkina; poet and translator Natalia Belchenko; writer Yuriy Vynnychuk; poet and publisher Yuriy Zavadskyi; writer Iryna Danevska; Ukrainian philosopher, publicist and translator Vakhtang Kebuladze; director of the SSU Sectoral State Archive Andriy Kohut; writer and illustrator Dmytro Kuzmenko; poet and writer Halyna Kruk; children’s writer Olesya Mamchych; Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights activist Oleksandra Matviichuk; journalist and war correspondent Yevhenia Podobna; publicist, writer and journalist Vitaly Portnikov; poet, translator, essayist and literary critic Ostap Slyvynsky; writer Svitlana Taratorina; children’s writer Halyna Tkachuk; poet, volunteer and servicewoman Yaryna Chornohuz; translator, co-founder of the Kyiv Comic Con Maria Shahuri; andgraphic novels publisher (Volia) Denys Fadeev. The stand will also feature posters of the Pictoric Illustrators Club.

“At the time of the Russian aggression, Ukrainian literature has gained a special meaning. I think, every Pole willing to understand Ukraine in its fight has to read Ukrainian books to get to know the soul of the Ukrainian people,” says the Ambassador of Ukraine to Poland Vasyl Zvarych.

On May 25, on the day of the opening of the fair, the special concert of the Slobozhansky Youth Academic Symphony Orchestra from Kharkiv will take place in the frame of the Ukrainian program at 16:00 on the open-air stage on the Defilad square.

Please, take a look at the Ukrainian program of events. The short version of the Ukrainian program in Polish is presented on the website of the Warsaw International Book Fair.

Let us remind you that since the beginning of 2023, the Ukrainian Book Institute has organized Ukrainian stands at the international book fairs in VilniusBolognaLondonand Leipzig.

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