Ukraine is the country in focus at the London Book Fair 2023

Ukraine will have a special “Guest Spotlight” status at the London Book Fair, which will take place from 18 to 20 April at Olympia London. Thanks to the support of the fair’s organizers, Ukraine was provided with a 49.5 sq m stand, number 2B01, free of charge. The Ukrainian stand, organized by the Ukrainian Book Institute, was the result of joint efforts by the UBI and its partners: MCIPMFAEmbassy of Ukraine in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandLondon Book FairBritish CouncilUkrainian InstitutePEN Ukraine and English PENUkrainian Institute LondonCulture AmbassadorLviv BookForumUkrainian Jewish EncounterUkrainian Libraries Association and Ukrainian Publishers & Booksellers Association.

The main concept of the Ukrainian national stand is the Destroyed Library exposition, which includes furniture from destroyed libraries in Ukraine. The stand’s theme is “Sensitive Content”, which draws the international community’s attention to the destruction of Ukrainian libraries as a result of russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“Thanks to the UBI’s cooperation with partners, Ukrainian authors will be able to tell their story at one of the most important cultural venues – the London Book Fair.Since the outbreak of the war, our reality has changed: we have witnessed what social media hides by labeling photos as “Sensitive Content”. Our truth is not aimed at impressing, but at testifying to the crimes that russians commit every day against Ukrainians and Ukrainian culture. We have learned to move on, to write and publish books, but our experience is going to stay with us forever. We show this duality with the project by Dariia Bila and Sofia Hupalovska at our booth: new books from Ukraine and furniture from Ukrainian libraries destroyed by russian shelling. We covered the war-torn library furniture and books with white paint. We are covering up the reality so that we can move on with our lives, but it is still visible and speaks through new Ukrainian books. The truth must be told – the truth about the war, writing during the war, and what art will look like after it, when Ukraine overcomes the colonizing pressure of russia”, believes Oleksandra Koval, director of the Ukrainian Book Institute.

The Ukrainian collective stand will feature about 300 books from 21 publishing houses: “Artbooks”, “ACCA”, “NK-Bohdan”, “Books and Cartoons”, “Vikhola”, “The Old Lion Publishing House”, “Clio”, “Ark Ukraine”, “Nash Format”, “Ranok”, “samit-Book”, “Chas Maistriv”, їzhak Publishing House, ist publishing, Parasolia, TUT Publishing House, CP Publishing, Ukraїner, as well as the Junior Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, and the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter (UJE).

This year, UBI together with its partners gathered the best speakers and moderators to the programme: Orysia Lutsevych, Victoria Amelina, Kateryna Babkina, Olesya Khromeichuk and Luke Harding, Mariana Savka, Oleksandr Mykhed, Yaryna Chornohuz, Tetiana Teren, Nina Murray, Tanya Tuma, Iva Pezuashvili, Paul Robert Magocsi, Vladyslav Davidson, Olya Tokariuk, Olga Mukha, and William Blacker. The Ukrainian Book Institute will be represented at the event by Olena Odynoka, Deputy Director for International Cooperation, and Sofiya Cheliak, representative of the International Cooperation Department, and Angelina Trofymchuk and Maria Dehtiarova will also work at the booth.

The Ukrainian programme, which was prepared jointly by the partners of Ukraine’s participation in the LBF, is available here.

An important part of the stand concept is the charity component initiated by the Embassy of Ukraine in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, aimed at restoring destroyed and damaged libraries and replenishing the book stock of libraries from Chernihiv, Bucha and other regions affected by the war. In partnership with PEN Ukraine, a fundraiser in support of damaged Ukrainian libraries will be held during the fair’s stand, which all participants and visitors will be able to join.

«We are honored to welcome Ukraine as our Guest Spotlight and are delighted to host Ukrainian publishers and a number of Ukrainian speakers both in person and virtually, as they explore the country’s rich literary culture and how the war is shaping literary output and conversations. With hundreds of speakers and dozens of topics, LBF’s seminar programme promises to offer a plethora of thought-provoking and insightful discussions about every facet of the industry», — Gareth Repley, Director of the London Book Fair, comments on Ukraine’s role at the fair.

Every year, the London Book Fair is the place where deals are made to buy and sell rights and distribute content in various formats: texts, audio, video, and digital technologies. The fair is expected to bring together more than 25,000 visitors – publishing professionals from 135 countries. The fair will be attended by representatives of 1,000 organizations from 60 countries. The overall programme of the fair includes 220 events.

This year, UIC has already organized the participation of Ukrainian publishers in the Vilnius Book Fair and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

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