VIІ International Festival
Книжковий Арсенал 2017

The 7th International Book Arsenal Festival will be held in Mystetskyi Arsenal on May 17 – 21.  The festival brings together literature and art, presents novelties of more than 150 publishing houses, introduces section of Illustrators, and invites you to visit original thematic programs and special projects formed by the curatorial team of independent young critics, сultural managers and famous writers.

Festival focus – “Laughter. Fear. Power”. Increasing the international component, attracting new partners and following the latests tendencies of the book publishing market, the festival at the same time seeks to focus on one topic in order to cover it completely through literature, art, and educational practices. This year we are talking about the nature of laughter, its multifacetedness and crucial role during the crisis.  We discuss how do we laugh today, when our  familiar world disintegrates and whether it is possible to laugh at a time like this. The festival focus “Laughter. Fear. Power” will combine discussions on political carnival, black humor and the funniest things on the Ukrainian Internet. The key  reason for choosing the topic is 175th anniversary of the full edition of Ivan Kotlyarevsky “Aeneid” (a vivid example of the Ukrainian culture of laughter) release. Therefore, we invite you to look at this poem through the theater (a new version of the play “Aeneid” of the Kharkiv theater studio “Arabesque”), format of performance (multimedia collage-lecture by Yuri Andrukhovich with “kotlyarevshina” elements), visual component (thematic exhibitions of illustrations, posters, caricatures, etc.), gastronomic experience (a refined restaurant “Aeneas”  will work for visitors with a specially designed menu), etc.

International program. The festival presents an expanded international program with the participation of more than 50 famous writers, literary figures and artists from the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, Poland, Latvia, Czechia, Georgia, Belgium, Romania and other countries. In 2017 Book Arsenal starts to invite big world literary festivals to Ukraine. The first guest within this special program will be the Birmingham Literary Festival (at the initiative of the British Council Ukraine) which will participate in Book Arsenal with a multifaceted curatorial program, including performative, educational, research and club components. Within the framework of cooperation, a delegation from Great Britain comes to Kiev. Among the festival guests also will be Joseph McElroy (USA), Askold Melnichuk (USA), Jonathan Coe (Great Britain), Franz Goler (Switzerland), Martin Pollack (Austria), Zvonko Karanovich (Serbia), Karl Schloel (Germany), Anjey Frischke (Poland ), Anna Hjölund (Sweden), Jiri Gaichek (Czech Republic), David Sutter (USA), Augild A. Sulber (Norway) and others.

Children’s program. The main topic of this year festival Children’s Program is  “About reading: reading and thinking”.  We offer to talk about reading as a building block of development of critical thinking, books in school education, about popularization of reading, Ukrainian children’s literature criticism, about non-fiction children’s books and books on complex topics etc. “Children.New” is this year festival topic that will introduce new formats of work with children and parents audiences, new authors and illustrators, new projects related to book industry, presentations of new publishing niches. In addition, a renewed innovative-educational project for children and adolescents “Arsenal Idei” awaits for its visitors in Mystetskyi Arsenal.

Oksana Zabuzhko curatorial program “Tell me about me” (Literature in the world of global misunderstanding). Traditionally, a well-known writer has been invited as a curator of the festival. Last year, Yuri Andrukhovich presented his program.  In 2017 Oksana Zabuzhko will present  the conversations in 4 actions with Olga Tokarchuk (Poland), Askold Melnichuk (USA), Heike Maria Yogenin (Germany) and Sergey Singayevsky (Ukraine) that will share their thoughts on literature in the world, which suddenly ceased to be understandable. “In a world with collapsing comfort zones, where wars are breaking out without announcement, crises are shaking country after country, and no one has any reasonable explanation for that” – says Zabuzhko in her curatorial text.

Music program. This year is presented by the international project of electro-acoustic, experimental electronic music and media artEM-VISIA”, with the participation of artists from France, Great Britain, Poland and Ukraine. “EM-VISIA” focuses on “high-tech” works, demonstrating the continuous connection of musical art and scientific knowledge. The programs of “EM-VISIA” concerts and master classes cover a broad genre spectrum of modern electronic music – from works of  academic electro-acoustic music composers,  to audio-visual performances, sonor installations, performances by experimental electronic music musicians and video art. The curator of the music program is Alla Zagaikevich, a well-known composer, curator of electro-acoustic projects, teacher of the P.Tchaikovsky National Music academy, author of music for films “Mamai”, “The Guide”, “The Living Fire”, “The “Word” House”.

Visual projects and exhibitions. Book Arsenal as a project of the Mystetsky Arsenal, by appealing to the expressive interdisciplinary approach,  annually pays special attention to the visual component – from an art director Alyona Solomadina style to fresh design trends in zines and “samizdat”. In particular, the Best Book Design contest was announced for the third time in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Ukraine and with the support of the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Buchkunst Foundation, the Chitomo project. The contest aims to develop an aesthetic level of the Ukraine publishing product. Series of events will be held together with the “Ukrainian Visual Book” project of Pavel Gudimov and Diana Klochko,  where visual books, Ukrainian art publications, photo books and artbooks will be discussed. Book Arsenal exhibitions will cover the festival theme more deeply: “Aeneid by Bazilevich” (the creation of “Cossack myth” in the first Ukrainian graphic novel), “One kilometer of Pepper” (Soviet laughter specificities), “Werner Klemke. Non-standard”, “Honore Daumier – the father of the French caricature” ( peculiarities of German and French caricatures), Andrei Sagaidakovsky “Listen attentively” (ironic mockery of everyday life), an exhibition of young graphic designers posters “Laughter. Fear. Power”, an international exhibition of illustrations “By the way, Life is beautiful”, organized by Pictoric Illustrators Club. In addition, at the festival will be presented several exhibition projects: “Grushevka” – work dedicated to the memory of Odosia Plitky-Sorokhan (organised by Shcherbenko Art Center), TheROOM (curator Natalia Gayda).

Special thematic areas. Taking into account strong interest in non-fiction literature and books on personal development, this year we are initiating a non-fiction platform for negotiations, presentations of relevant literature and meetings with socially active entrepreneurs. Moreover, the festival will include charitable projects, performances, illustration exhibitions, art installations and film shows.We continue to explore the themes of font policy (Live calligraphy), new comic books and graphic novels (Territory of Graphic Prose), non-standard interpretation of one’s own experience (Club of creative philosophy), specificities of the functioning of small bookstores (“Promoting Books with Media”).  In addition, we are going to carry on discussions about  literature of national minorities living in Ukraine (“Roma: (not) known”), about fantasy and mythology (special project “EneiVersum”).


The curatorial team of the Book Arsenal 2017 includes:

Oksana Khmelevskaya – coordinator of the festival.

Tatyana Teren – curator of the festival focus-program”Laughter. Fear. Power ” and the coordinator of the Ukrainian program.

Polina Gorodiskaya – curator of the International Program.

Julia Kozlovets – curator of the Children’s Program.

Irina Slavinskaya – the curator of the new program “I am Different in the Mirror” and the traditional series of dialogues “Metabolism”.

Oksana Schur – coordinator of the festival’s projects and editor of the catalog.

Evgeny Stasinevich – curator of special literary lecture “Read / speak: lecture”.

Anastasia Evdokimova – curator and coordinator of the poetry and performative programs and scenes, as well as the special project “Ellain-Blue’s Editorial Office”.

Oksana Zabuzhko – curator of the program “Tell me about me” (Literature in the world of global misunderstanding).

Alla Zagaikevich – curator of the international project of electro-acoustic, experimental electronic music and media art “EM-VISIA”.

Jonathan Davidson – guest curator from the Birmingham Literary Festival.


The festival partners:

of international program: The British Council in Ukraine, the Goethe Institut in Ukraine, the French Institute in Ukraine, the Polish Institute in Kiev, the Czech Center in Kiev, the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Italian Institute of Culture, the Lithuanian Cultural Institute, the Greek Cultural Foundation, the US Embassy in Ukraine, the German Embassy in Ukraine , The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Ukraine, the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine, the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, the Embassy of Slovakia in Ukraine, the Embassy of Georgia in Ukraine, the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Buch Foundation Kunst, Swiss Cultural Foundation Pro Helvetia, NORLA – Norwegian Literature Abroad, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (Germany), Biuro Festiwalowe Impart (Wroclaw), Publishing House Lilla Piratförlaget (Sweden), DOM (Germany), Writing West Midlands (Great Britain).

Technical partner: Zinteco

Hotel parner: 11 Mirrors Design Hotel, Senator Apartments

Special hotel partner: Premier Hotels and Resorts

The partner of the restaurant “Aeneas”Litpab “Krapka. Coma”