President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and First Lady Olena Zelenska visited the book fair of the XI International Book Arsenal Festival, which will take place in Kyiv on June 22-25.
Olesia Ostrovska-Liuta, Director General of the Mystetskyi Arsenal National Cultural, Art and Museum Complex, and Yulia Kozlovets, Director of the Book Arsenal International Festival, told the presidential couple about the focus theme of this year's event: "When Everything Matters". The event is curated by Natalia Humeniuk, a Ukrainian journalist and documentary filmmaker who specializes in conflict coverage.
According to Olesia Ostrovska-Liuta, this year's Book Arsenal is smaller than in previous years, but its holding is a testament to the resilience of our state and society, which works even despite the war. According to her, when in March the security situation in the country allowed the festival to take place, they managed to organize it in a very short time - in a few months, although the preparation process usually takes about six months.
Yulia Kozlovets, for her part, emphasized that holding the book festival at a time when the country is actively resisting a powerful invader has aroused great interest among representatives of the world media: many requests have been received from journalists of international publications interested in learning more about Ukraine.
The Director General of Mystetskyi Arsenal also thanked the President for signing the law on restrictions on the import and distribution of publications related to the aggressor state, Belarus and the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine, which is extremely important for the cultural sphere of our country.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted the importance of holding such a significant book festival in Ukraine at a time when the Ukrainian people are fighting for the right to exist and to preserve their national identity.
The President emphasized that it is important for him to attend such cultural events to support Ukrainian authors, publishers and artists. In addition, for him personally, it is an opportunity to restore his own strength and find books that will help him in his work.
"The name of the country's largest book event, Book Arsenal, sounds particularly apt now. Because books have truly become our arsenal, our cultural weapon. That is why I attend it with special feelings. Now every text, novel, short story, poem we write is our resistance to destruction. It is proof that we, Ukrainians, are and will be on our land. Because we save, protect, and value each other. Because we are caring and human," Olena Zelenska added.
The presidential couple visited the thematic sections "Children's Book", "Comics and Graphic Novel" (presented by Zakapeliuk bookstore), "Fiction" (presented by Knyzhkovyi Lev bookstore), "Art Book" (presented by the National Oleksandr Dovzhenko Center), "Book about the Russian-Ukrainian War" (presented by Siaivo Knyhy) and "Non-Fiction" (presented by Sense bookstore).
The Head of State was interested in historical literature, bought the book “Why the West Rules―for Now” by Ian Morris and Maksym Yakovlyev's book "Conspiracy Theories. How (not) to Become a Conspiracy Theorist".
For her part, the First Lady paid attention to fiction and psychological literature, books about the historical figure of Princess Olha, and bought Boom comics for her son, "Dune. House Atreides. Book 1".
Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Olena Zelenska chose the following literature:
- "Conspiracy Theories. How (not) to Become a Conspiracy Theorist" by Maksym Yakovlyev.
- "Job's Call Sign. Chronicles of the Invasion" by Oleksandr Mykhed.
- "There is Land behind Perekop" by Anastasia Levkova.
- "Dune. House Atreides. Book 1" by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
- “Princess Olha. Dynastic Secrets of the Rulers of Rus'” by Serhiy Pietkov.
- "Princess Olha. The Cornerstone of Church and State" by Serhiy Pietkov.
- "I am Transforming... Diary of the Occupation. Selected Poems" by Volodymyr Vakulenko.
- "When Will I Finally Get Enough Sleep? How to Fall Asleep and Wake Up with Pleasure" by Olha Maslova, Nika Bielska.
- "On Tyranny Graphic Edition: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century" by Timothy Snyder.
- "Who are you?" by Artem Chekh.
- “Why the West Rules―for Now” by Ian Morris.
- "Telegraf#2. Creativity in War"
The International Book Arsenal Festival is a large Ukrainian book fair and a book festival at the same time, founded in 2011 by the Mystetskyi Arsenal National Cultural, Art and Museum Complex, which hosts the event.
As part of this cultural and intellectual event, book, literary, publishing, and artistic platforms are being developed, and important cultural and social issues are being raised. Each year, the festival brought together more than 200 domestic publishers and cultural institutions and about 50 thousand visitors. In 2022, the festival was not held due to Russia's full-scale aggression against Ukraine.
The program of the XI Book Arsenal also includes projects involving illustrators, designers and typographers, as well as professional events for the publishing community. The organizers have planned more than 80 events within the literature program, programs for children and teenagers, and focus topics of the festival, which will take place on four stages.