Book arsenal 2020Book Arsenal


The 10th Book Arsenal will be held on May 20-24, 2020. The focus of the jubilee Festival is OPTIMISTS SKEPTICS. The focus theme is curated by Rostyslav Semkiv, literary critic and PhD in Philology.

Rostyslav Semkiv. Photo by Oleksandr Popenko

Here is how he outlines the topic:

“Have you noticed this? As soon as someone in our surrounding makes an optimistic outlook for the future, there immediately appear people ready to object him or her. Well, what optimism are we talking about? Do we see good prospects for our future? Constantly hoping for the best is somewhat childish, naive. There are far more skeptics than optimists now. And the trend is also not optimistic: those who yesterday were convinced that there was a way out of any situation are constantly falling into skepticism. What is it? Is it another decline in the historical cycle followed by a new upsurge of our belief in the human mind capabilities, creative powers and prudence? Or, is it the deepest point of the bottom, under which we feel an even deeper bottom? They say optimists are simply ill-informed, but how can you move towards a goal if you are certain you cannot reach it? Perhaps both parties – funny optimists and powerless skeptics – are nostalgic ghosts from the past? Something like noisy, cheerful athletes watched by harassed intellectuals from their kitchens? Or, is it early to fall into caricaturing, and both vigorous experiments and the wise and balanced criticism of all such endeavors make sense? Optimists or / and / also / never / no skeptics. Who are we now?”

All these issues will be overthought by Rostyslav Semkiv along with the curatorial team of the 10th Book Arsenal. This year it includes:

– Serhii Zhadan, curator of the Writer’s Program,
– Olha Zhuk, curator of the Book Design Program,
– Liubov Morozova, curator of the Music Program,
– Yuliia Kozlovets, coordinator of the Festival, curator of the Kids Program,
– Oksana Shchur, curator of the International Program,
– Oksana Khmeliovska, curator of the Professional Development Programs,
– Tania Rodionova, coordinator of the Ukrainian Program,
– Iryna Slavinska, curator of the Special Program,
– Solomia Savchuk, coordinator of the Art Projects,
– Vira Kruzylina, technical director of the Festival.

OPTIMISTS SKEPTICS is a cross-cutting theme that will be represented in the events and projects offered by curators of the 10th International Book Arsenal Festival.
Call for applications for participation in the 10th Book Arsenal Festival will be announced in December 2019.

The International Book Arsenal Festival was founded by the Mystetskyi Arsenal in 2011. It is an annual intellectual event in Ukraine, where the book, literary and artistic scenes develop and interact with each other, essential issues of human being, as well as of society and culture are raised and reflected, encouraging participants and visitors to take a proactive position. During the 9 years of its existence, the Book Arsenal Festival has hosted over half a thousand writers, poets, philosophers, designers, illustrators, and publishing experts from over half a hundred countries of the world.
Since 2017, Book Arsenal has been choosing the focus theme of the Festival each year. Laughter. Fear. Power became the first one and was curated by Tetiana Teren. In 2018, it was called The Project of the Future, and in 2019 – Neighborhood: An Open Question. Vira Baldyniuk curated the focus themes of both years.
In 2019, the International Book Arsenal Festival won The Literary Festival Award of The London Book Fair International Excellence Awards 2019.

Within the Book Arsenal Festival, the Best Book Design Contest is held with the support of the Goethe-Institut Ukraine. It aims to speak of the book as an art object and develop the industry in an aesthetic direction. Call for applications for the Best Book Design Contest will be announced in February 2020.

The 9th Book Arsenal Festival figures (2019)