Book Arsenal Together with BolognaBookPlus Presents a Collection of Ukrainian Visual BooksAbout Us

Book Arsenal Together with BolognaBookPlus Presents a Collection of Ukrainian Visual Books

Book Arsenal and BolognaBookPlus, an offshoot of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, that works with the global book publishing, present a collection of Ukrainian visual books within the Talking Pictures initiative, which is devoted to the visual book and modern book publishing for the adult audience.

For participation in the Talking Pictures initiative, the Book Arsenal team accepted the editions that were published during 2021-2024 by Ukrainian publishing houses and created by Ukrainian authors, illustrators, designers, and photographers for the adult audience.

Based on the editions received from Book Arsenal, the international jury of the Talking Pictures initiative compiled a collection of 54 visual editions for the adult audience, that were exhibited at this year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair on April 8-11 and will also be presented at the 12th Book Arsenal from May 30 to June 2 this year.

From them the international jury chose the winner—the Telegraf Design series of periodicals from Projector Publishing. The author of the visual solution of this edition is invited to attend the  Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2025.

Special mentions were awarded to:

  • NIKIFOR by Myroslava Mudrak from the RODOVID publishing house and the Ukrainian Museum in New York (2023),
  • The God of Freedom by Yuliya Musakovska from The Old Lion Publishing House (2021),
  • Hometown by Ruslana Kliuchko, self-published (2023).

The representatives of the international jury commented on their decision in the following way.

Steven Guarnaccia, a member of the international jury:

“A book, reduced to one-by-one successive images on a screen, is transformed when experienced in the context of the book-object, for which they were created. The role of context is crucial. A book of photos which might in one context convey one idea, with a change in context—the addition or change in title, the production values through which it is expressed—can convey something entirely different. The jury was astonished (there’s really no other word for it) by the extraordinary quality overall of the printing and production. This would be worthy of note at any time, but especially during a time of war, the commitment to excellence in every respect: content, design, paper, printing and production—was exemplary.”

Neil Packer, a member of the international jury:

“It was an honor and a privilege to be asked to help select a winner for Talking Pictures 2024. The breadth and depth of the entries was remarkable and in many cases the subject matter was profoundly moving. It was very difficult trying to find a single winner and just 3 special mentions from so many strong contenders. Of course the ongoing war in Ukraine is present to a greater or lesser extent in all of these books even if it is not the subject matter, but I think and hope that we have judged these books purely as books. Of what a book can be, of what a book can do, as an object, but we must also consider what is its function? and how it serves that function. 

The winning entries are of course very beautiful books, unique as ideas and stunning examples of design, but they also function perfectly in terms of conveying their content and thus perhaps fulfilling all of the criteria for outstanding books.”

Oksana Karpiuk, the manager of professional programs of Book Arsenal, distinguished the value of the Talking Pictures initiative and the opportunity to attract attention to Ukrainian visual editions at the international level:

“It is very important for the International Book Arsenal Festival to support the visual culture of the Ukrainian publishing sector, as well as to distinguish the professionals who, despite the full-scale war, maintain the high quality of book design, relying on a long-term tradition. We are grateful to BolognaBookPlus that this year Ukraine has been chosen as the focus country of the Talking Pictures initiative, we will be glad to share the collection and its winners with the visitors of this year’s Book Arsenal in Kyiv.

As for the winner, Telegraph is a series of magazines about Ukrainian visual culture that was launched shortly before the full-scale invasion. It is very interesting that a magazine as an editorial format (along with reporting and poetry) is an excellent genre for reflecting current processes in the situation in which circumstances change quickly and unpredictably, compared to a book that requires a certain temporal distance for deeper reflection. Telegraph, Nikifor and Hometown were on the list of winners of our Best Book Design Contest in 2022 and 2023.”

The full list of Ukrainian visual books included in the Talking Pictures collection can be found here.

Bologna Children’s Book Fair is three global book events for the international trade in rights and licenses that take place annually in the eponymous Italian city, where culture interacts with style and commercial relations are established.

BolognaBookPlus (BBPlus) was launched by the BCBF/BolognaFiere in 2020 in collaboration with the Italian Publishers Association (AIE) to reach the global book publishing audience through a three-day program of the exhibition, training, conferences and other opportunities that occur in parallel with the well-known Bologna Children’s Book Fair on April 8-10, 2024. Led by the Guest Director Jacks Thomas and supported by the UK team, BolognaBookPlus works closely with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair team.

Talking Pictures is a collaboration between Hamelin Association and Steven Guarnaccia, conceived in 2018 in partnership with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and Publishers Weekly, on the occasion of the first New York Rights Fair, to explore the cultural importance and ongoing impact of the contemporary international visual book. Talking Pictures aims to fully explore this rich territory, in which various sectors of book publishing, for adult and children interconnect and cross-pollinate, thus giving life to new forms of visual language and new literary and publishing entities, encompassing the full range of areas of creative expression. It is interested in those books that blur the borders between contemporary commercial publishing and the latest currents in small-press book-making. Talking Pictures 2024 focuses on one region, Ukraine.