About the projectBook Arsenal


The VІІI International Book Arsenal Festival Will Project the Future

About 200 Ukrainian writers and 100 guests from 31 countries – Mystetskyi Arsenal will host the VIII Festival ‘Book Arsenal’ from May 30 to June 3. The country’s intellectual event unites literature and art. More than 150 publishing houses and niche projects will present their best novelties; designers, illustrators and artists will introduce their exhibition projects.

Focus theme – ‘The Project of the Future’
While within previous years the Festival focused on discussing literature during the war times and laughter during the crisis, this year the Festival curatorial team suggests looking into the future.

“The future does not exist yet, there are only our predictions and imaginary projects. The future attracts us with its uncertainty and it cannot be perceived at the same time: we usually realize too late that a certain tendency becomes a decisive feature of time, and that the present reality will be described tomorrow by its coordinates. The future is an eternal hope; we seek solace from injuries and from suffering in it. But this is also a thirst for new challenges”

 Vira Baldyniuk, the Festival’s focus-theme curator

What does humanity dream about? What will the future world order be like, what are the chances of democracy in the face of hybrid challenges? How to resist dehumanization in the times of change? Are modern technologies able to create an (over)human? – during the Festival, organizers and guests will try to answer these and other questions.

The Festival will present special projects related to contemporary technologies, changes in the reading practices, new opportunities for contemplating, sensing, experiencing and living through stories. The project ‘Out of Sight’ (the Netherlands) will embody the combination of storytelling, VR and illustrations; the Goethe- Institut Ukraine and the Frankfurt Book Fair will present Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis in virtual reality; and a tour of modernized Mykola Kostomarov Kyiv Library virtual premises with the help of VR-glasses will provide an opportunity to imagine public spaces of the future.

‘Cafe of the Future’ (together with the popular science magazine Kunst) will be one of the Festival notable locations, where a robot will make coffee for visitors.

International program
Some of the foreign guests this year are:

UNESCO expert and a director of the Institute of Practical Philosophy in Paris, one of the world’s most renowned specialists in child development, Oscar Brenifier (France); a poet, translator and human rights activist, one of the Lithuanian Helsinki Group founders, professor of Slavic languages and Literature at the Yale University, Tomas Venclova (Lithuania); a bright representative of both Croatian and Bosnian literatures, Miljenko Jergović (Bosnia and Herzegovina); a president of The American Literary Translators Association, Aron Aji (USA); president of Icelandic PEN-club, famous Icelandic writer Sjon; leading Israeli author Meir Shalev (Israel); one of the most prominent Italian writers Francesca Melandri (Italy), world-famous writer, essayist and journalist Slavenka Drakulić (Croatia-Sweden).

Special guest of the Book Arsenal is Bratislava Book Festival (BRaK). Curated by Peter Michalik (Slovakia), BRaK will present a unique program of readings, public talks and events within the Festival. Among the program participants is one of the most notable writers of Slovakia younger generation, Michal Hvorecky, whose latest book Trol is being prepared for publication in Ukrainian.

Childrens program
‘To be continued!..’ – this is the name of this year’s Children’s program. Program participants will talk about what books we have today, and what books children will take with them for tomorrow. These books, for example, are included in the unique ‘Silent books’ collection of the International Board on Books for Young People IBBY, which will be shown at the Book Arsenal Festival with the support of the Swiss Embassy in Ukraine. IBBY Expert, senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow, leading expert on children’s literature and reading Evelyn Arizpe (UK, Scotland) will come to present this collection and its history, as well as to showcase new models of storytelling.

Special international guests of this year Children’s Program are Eva Susso, Emilia Dziubak, Grzegorz Kasdepke, Gudrun Skretting, and others.

For the first time at the Festival, the ‘Children’s Book’ section is located autonomously in the right wing of Arsenal building, where the stands of publishing houses for children and teenagers literature will work and events of the Children’s program will take place.

Musical program
This year, the program is presented by the Next Sound – festival which promotes developing the entire diversity of the digital art in conjunction with progressive and experimental music, involvement of sensory organs. The program will be attended by artists from France, Germany, Austria, Ukraine.

Professional program
The EUNIC Ukraine Cluster, which includes European Cultural Centers, with the support of the EU Culture Bridges program, will present professional platform Booking the Future, curated by Olia Zhuk. The word-play of the program name resonates with the futuristic theme of this year’s Book Arsenal Festival and aims to outline global and local trends, innovations and forecasts. How readers’ habits and expectations are transformed; how today publishers in different countries ‘book’ a place for their business in the future, what are they counting on, and how do they adapt?

There will also be a negotiating space for Ukrainian and foreign publishers, literary agents, translators and heads of book institutions – in cooperation with the Ukrainian Book Institute.

Special thematic platforms
With the support of Kyiv-Mohyla Business School, the ‘Book Arsenal Festival for the second time will host an intellectual platform where managers will meet to share business wisdom, discuss the models of the future and learn how to create good management solutions to achieve it. This year’s theme is ‘The Creators of the Future.’ Within the program, talks on the occasion of presenting books on responsible leadership and management will be held.

Among other accents are: charitable, performing projects, exhibitions of illustrations, font workshops, printing technologies, art installations, film shows. We continue the topic of font policy (in cooperation with ART and I), non-standard reflection of our own experience in the times of change (Creative Philosophy Club), and will find out if science-fiction writers can predict the future (special project ‘#youareascifiwriter’).

Visual projects and exhibitions
As a project of Mystetskyi Arsenal, the Book Arsenal Festival pays special attention to the visual component every year – from the style to the newest design trends in zines and samvydav (self-publishing materials). In particular, the third competition for the BEST BOOK DESIGN is announced.

Visual books, Ukrainian art publications, photo books, and art books will be discussed during the events organized in cooperation with Pavlo Gudimov and Diana Klochko’s project Ukrainian Visual Book. Furthermore, the exhibition Metropolis. Past Utopias of the Future will outline the views of the visionaries in the areas of ​​architecture, inventions, and cinema. These will include Kyiv reconstruction projects created by the Ukrainian architects of the ‘Stalinist’ period. Particular attention is paid to the artworks of Yakiv Chernikhov – an architect, innovator of constructivism, visualization master of Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s level. His book Architectural Fantasies. 101 Compositions (1933) reveals the power of the utopian vision scale of the future ‘forms’.

Other projects will be presented by: Pictoric Illustrators Club exhibition, Visual Metaphors. To Be Continued by the Graphic Design Department of the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture, Rules of Buravchyk by the art studio Aza Nizi Maza.

The Festival team expresses its gratitude to the partners:

 The International program partners: EUNIC Ukraine, British Council Ukraine, Goethe Institute Ukraine, French Institute Ukraine, Polish Institute in Kyiv, Czech Center in Kyiv, Austrian Cultural Forum, Italian Institute of Culture in Ukraine, Lithuanian Cultural Institute, Greek Cultural Foundation, U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, Embassy of Germany in Ukraine, Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Ukraine, Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine, Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, Embassy of Slovakia in Ukraine, Embassy of Georgia in Ukraine, Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, Embassy of Israel in Ukraine, Embassy of Hungary in Ukraine, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ukraine, Embassy of Canada in Ukraine, Embassy of Ukraine in Lebanon Republic, Embassy of Lebanon Republic in Ukraine, Arabic Culture Club in Beirut, Lebanon Cultural and Information Center in Ukraine, Embassy of Belgium in Ukraine, Frankfurt Book Fair, Buchkunst Foundation, NORLA – Norwegian Literature Abroad (Norway), Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (Germany), Flemish Literature Fund (Belgium), UN Women Ukraine, USAID.

General partner: Kyivstar
Children’s program partner: LuckyBooks
Hotel partners: 11 Mirrors Design Hotel, Senator Apartments, Premier Hotels and Resorts
Partner of the future: Ufuture
Partners of the business platform: Kniga.biz.ua, KMBS, Edinburgh Business School Eastern Europe
Medical partner: Borys
Partners: Oshadbank, Everlegal, Wacom, Hotel Mir, Zinteco company, Hipacoma Ltd, Plastics, Poparada, Silver Telecom, UDM, Charitable Foundation ‘Mystetskyi arsenal’, Arsenal of Ideas

General information partner: UA: Suspilne
Information partner: 112 Ukraine, TSN, Snidanok 1+1, Hromadske, Espresso, Hromadske radio, Radio Svoboda, L’Officiel Ukraine, Ukrainska pravda. Zhyttia, Novoe Vremya The Ukrainian Week, Gazeta.ua, ‘Kraina’ magazine, The Day Newspaper, Kyiv Post, Platforma, Lb.ua, PRYVIT/media&production, Intercity, Kontramarka.ua
Special media partners: Chytomo, Litakcent.

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