President of Ukraine

Olena Zelenska: Ukrainian books represent our country abroad, they testify and preserve memory despite everything

30 November 2023 - 13:59

Olena Zelenska: Ukrainian books represent our country abroad, they testify and preserve memory despite everything

First Lady Olena Zelenska's Ukrainian Bookshelf project to promote Ukrainian literature has already expanded to 44 countries, distributing 45,000 books in libraries worldwide.

"Our project has gained a global scale: 190 Ukrainian bookshelves in 44 countries contain 45,000 books - ours and about us, in Ukrainian and translated into different languages. Through them, we speak to the world, tell about ourselves and our culture, and the world can learn about us not only from the news, but also from literary works. Learn and understand," the President's wife noted.

In particular, the project recently opened two new shelves in Poland - in the Voivodeship and Municipal Public Library "Dr. Witold Bełza" in Bydgoszcz and the Voivodeship Public Library – Copernicus Library in Toruń. The opening ceremony was held by Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Poland Vasyl Zvarych.

The first Ukrainian bookshelf in Latin America has appeared in the Mexican city of Guadalajara, in the Public Library of the Jalisco state. It was opened during the Guadalajara Book Fair, an important cultural event for the entire Spanish-speaking world. Ukraine is participating in the event as part of the European Union stand along with 27 member states.

In her address to the participants of the fair, Olena Zelenska said that Ukraine was to be represented by the writer Victoria Amelina. This well-known author helped save the work of another Ukrainian writer, Volodymyr Vakulenko, who was tortured by Russians in occupied Izyum. After the liberation of the city, Victoria found the hidden pages of his diary, the last text he ever wrote.

This summer, Victoria went to the frontline city of Kramatorsk with a group of Colombian journalists and writers to show them the consequences of Russia's war against Ukraine. They stopped for lunch at a pizzeria in the city center when Russian forces hit this civilian facility with a long-range ballistic missile. The foreign journalists were injured. Victoria died in the hospital.

" I am deeply saddened that the fair will not hear the living voices of Victoria Amelina and Volodymyr Vakulenko. But even across the ocean, these authors and the whole of Ukraine are represented by their books, Ukrainian books. At such moments, you especially realize the immortal power of literature. It testifies and preserves memory despite everything," the First Lady said.