International programBook Arsenal

International program

Curated by Polina Horodyska

What awaits us in the future? In the time of changing modernity, rapid development of science and technology, a boom of futurology, discussion of genetic modifications in humans and evolution of artificial intelligence, as new professions and socio-economic classes emerge while today’s institutions of power stagnate and decay, fears of mass unemployment rise, as do concerns of the new technogenic Middle Ages, in the time of chaos and controversies – what can our future be like? We are to talk about all this at the International Program with foreign authors and experts.

This discussion has an unprecedentedly broad geographic span as this year’s festival welcomes guests from 31 countries. Embassies of the USA, Hungary, Israel and Lebanon, as well as the Beirut International Arab Book Fair will have their own stands at the Book Arsenal for the first time.   

Overall, more than 90 well-known writers, philosophers, scientists and academics, artists and cultural figures will take part in the festival events. Sylwia Chutnik from Poland will discuss cities of the future while Dan Kinkead from the US will speak about the efficiency of urbanization and transformations in post-industrial cities. Micha Elias Pichlkastner from Austria will deliver a lecture on human body in the age of mechanical reproduction and on an artist’s perspective of the meaningfulness of human body in the digital age. Julius Wiedemann, Editor-in-Chief at the Taschen publishing house (UK) will join the jury of the Best Book Design 2018 competition. Mr. Wiedemann will also deliver a lecture about international trends in the publishing business and innovations at the crossroads of culture, communications and technology.

When dreaming and reflecting on the future, it is critically important to work with memory and the past, archives and memoires. Books and studies presented by their authors at the festival will help in this. These include Anne Applebaum’s (USA) latest book about Holodomor, books from Karlag: Memory In the Name of the Future research project by Nurlan Dulatbekov (Kazakhstan) focusing on the Karaganda GULAG labor camp, or research based on Witold Pilecki’s memoirs from Auschwitz by historian Wiesław Jan Wysocki (Poland). At the same time, writer and historian Luuk van Middelaar (Netherlands) will discuss the roots and the development of the European Union, while Andrew Wilson (UK), Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, will talk about virtual politics and democracy in the face of challenges of the future.  

The professional program deserves special attention as its participants will outline global and local trends, innovations and forecasts for the publishing business. How the habits and expectations of the readers transform? How are publishers in different countries booking a niche for their business in the future? What do they count on and how do they adapt? All this is part of the discussion at Booking the Future professional platform. A number of foreign translators, literature experts, academics and researchers will deliver lectures, workshops and talks at this year’s Book Arsenal.

For the second time now, the festival hosts a 60 sq. m collective stand for Germany publishers and a special program of events in partnership with the Frankfurt Book Fair with the support of Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Goethe-Institut in Ukraine. A large cultural program with nearly 20 events celebrates the Ukrainian-German Year of Languages. Our guests are welcome to attend a series of To the Touch project events focusing on utopias and dystopias for teenagers. Resonating with the Book Arsenal’s focus theme, this project presents German utopian and dystopian novels for teenagers and young people translated into Ukrainian. The virtual reality project VRwandlung based on Franz Kafka’s Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis) will be presented within this cooperation framework as well. A mix of technology and multimedia may grow into a commonly-used tool for reading literature in the future. Another virtual project by the Dutch artists titled Out of Sight takes us to the world of the 9-year old Lena and her father, offering us to try the role of one of the characters and experience their story.

The Czech Center in Kyiv in cooperation with the Embassies of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic in Ukraine, and LIC Bratislava center has prepared a series of cultural and educational projects to mark The 100th anniversary of a Shared Century in 2018.

This year’s Book Arsenal will continue the tradition of hosting curatorial programs from top international literature festivals. In 2018, the Bratislava Book Festival (BRaK) will be the guest of the Book Arsenal in Kyiv. Curated by Peter Michalík (Slovakia), it will present a program of readings, public talks and discussions, focusing on niche festivals and Slovak literature in the world context among other things.