In spite of the ongoing war with Russia, the organizers of International Book Arsenal Festival have announced that the event will run this year from June 22-25 in Kyiv. The festival is the largest and most prominent in Ukraine. The festival will be hosted, as usual, in the Old Arsenal of the city, which—the organizers note—also contains a bomb shelter should it become necessary.
More than fifty literary events will serve adults, teens, and children. One significant change will be that book sales, which have traditionally been offered direct by publishers, will now be run by local bookstores: Sens bookstore will manage nonfiction sales, Book Lion bookstore will offer fiction titles for sale, and Zakapelok bookstore will sell comics and graphic novels. There will also be a curated selection of titles on display and for sale of books focused on the war.
"Our team has worked through several scenarios, looking for a decision on the format of the festival in the state of war. The format that we offer aims to present our visitors with a wide inclusive selection of books from the maximum range of Ukrainian publishing houses, which, in turn, will help support more agents in the industry," Yuliia Kozlovets, director of the Book Arsenal, said. "In addition, the cooperation with local independent bookstores, I hope, will allow us to draw attention to the importance of this particular link in the way of a book from the author to the reader: such bookstores, each with its brand, client approach, the culture of building healthy business relations with publishers, and the strategy of developing local communities around them deserve greater visibility. It is also important that such format of the Book Arsenal will allow publishers to participate in the festival as guests, have more opportunities to focus on meetings and exchange of experience with colleagues, networking, and internal professional discussions."
“This year the fair will be focused on locals, people who are living at risk, inside a war, but are managing and want to live their lives as fully as possible,” Kozlovets, added. “People want to feel themself in a familiar place, together with friends, to talk, to discuss, to share experiences. We want to give them this opportunity. And we also want people to celebrate their bravery and resistance. We want to celebrate new books, authors, publishers who continue their work. This is our way to work for victory.”
Olesia Ostrovska-Liuta, director general of the Book Arsenal, remarked: "We are sure that all of us need Book Arsenal, this year more than ever. The festival shall support us, strengthen our resilience, and be an inspiration.... We will do everything we can to create a comfortable and safe space to come together, and to provide a platform to make sense of our experiences. We will work tirelessly to make it happen—a meeting place for books, readers, and authors, perhaps the most important one in Ukraine."