The 12th Book Arsenal Announces the Focus Theme and Programs CuratorsAbout Us

The 12th Book Arsenal Announces the Focus Theme and Programs Curators

Tetyana Ogarkova and Volodymyr Yermolenko are chosen as the curators of the focus theme of the 12th International Book Arsenal Festival, which will be held on May 30 — June 2.

“Tetyana Ogarkova and Volodymyr Yermolenko are people of great work. Their years-long podcast about culture for Ukrainian listeners and several foreign-language podcasts about Ukraine for a global audience are an invaluable contribution to Ukrainian subjectness. Their articles, books and speeches are very important. However, while inviting them to curate the focus theme, we thought not only about that. We were considering their regular volunteer trips throughout Ukraine, and most of all—to the Ukrainian East and South, that have been going on since the first days of Russian invasion. We were considering what they see, how they comprehend what they have seen, what conclusions they reach. How they, physically feeling the changes in the landscape while driving for a long time, when the Yermolenkos are literally carriers of people, goods and at the same time thoughts, judgments and impressions, summarize them. What does the experience of the edge—being on the edge, approaching the edge, existing on the edge of strength—give to all of us in Ukraine and beyond? I am glad that Tetyana and Volodymyr have accepted this role in Book Arsenal 2024 and have undertaken another piece of work that is important to all of us”,

— Olesia Ostrovska-Liuta, the Director General of the Mystetskyi Arsenal.

Tetyana Ogarkova is a literary scholar, journalist, essayist (the history of French literature, the history of avant-garde and the theory of literature). PhD in Literary Studies (University of Paris-XII Val-de-Marne), senior lecturer of the Department of Literature at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, member of PEN Ukraine. Curator of the project Communication of Ukraine Abroad: Information, Analysis, Storytelling.

Volodymyr Yermolenko is a philosopher, writer and journalist, the president of PEN Ukraine, Doctor of Political Studies (France), Candidate of Philosophical Sciences, Docent of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Laureate of the Yurii Sheveliov Prize (2018), the Book of the Year award in various nominations (2018, 2015), the Petro Mohyla Prize (2021). Tetyana Ogarkova and Volodymyr Yermolenko started the Ukrainian-language podcast about culture Kult: Podcast.

Life on the Edge is the focus theme and the main metaphor of the 12th Book Arsenal, that the curators develop in their essay:

“A car trip from the bustling capital, which hardly differs from its pre-war version now, to the frontline, where life as we know it ceases to exist, takes only about eight hours…                        

The closer to the frontline, the more rarefied becomes the landscape—fewer people, less movement, less life. A passerby in the street is already an event. An open coffee shop is the center of the emptied-out city block. A military car speeding past you is action. Distant sounds of explosions completely replace the usual sounds of the city. The closer to the frontline, the faster people move between places—here you quickly learn that death always approaches faster than you move away from it. The air itself becomes dangerous.

Who are those who remain here? And who comes and returns again and again?..                            

There, on the edge, people desperately do what they believe in. On the edge, people dare to be what others only consider as their beliefs. To be an embodiment, to stand in the face of evil, upright, holding the rest of the world behind your back. Our common world”.

Olena Huseinova, a radio presenter, radio producer, writer, has become the curator of the Literature Program of Book Arsenal 2024.

During Book Arsenal, the Kids and Teens Program will also take place. Its work will be curated by Olha Rusina, a writer, journalist, translator, author of books for kids and teenagers.

The 12th Book Arsenal will host the Literary Festival The Fifth Kharkiv with a special program. This program will be organized in collaboration with the Kharkiv Literary Museum. The program will be curated by Yevhenii Stasinevych, a literary critic, literary scholar, lecturer, curator of art projects.

At this year’s Book Arsenal, PEN Ukraine will present a special program of events for the second time.

Oksana Karpiuk will curate the Professional Program, which will become a platform for industry discussions, exchange of experience and search for successful solutions.


Separate events from publishers will also be presented at Book Arsenal.

The identity of the festival, developed by the team of designers of the Mystetskyi Arsenal headed by Liera Huievska, corresponds to the focus theme and visually interprets the idea of life on the edge. In our imagination, the edge is something concrete, but visually it is ephemeral, because there are no clear-cut edges and borders in nature. Where does it run? On the right, where the battles line forms a new edge? Or inside us, like the pulsating artery that pumps blood and nourishes the whole organism? The new identity of Book Arsenal offers to answer these questions according to one’s own experience and feelings.

Let us remind you that Book Arsenal has announced the dates and format of the 12th festival. Besides, applications for the BOOK ARSENAL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM from foreign publishers, rights managers, literary agents and other professionals of the book industry interested in cooperation with Ukraine are being received until March 22.

Book Arsenal is an international event organized by the Mystetskyi Arsenal. The festival has been held since 2011, and has become one of the most influential literary and artistic events in Eastern Europe. In 2019, it won The Literary Festival Award of the International Excellence Awards. The mission of the International Book Arsenal Festival is to create such interactions between people, communities, institutions when the combination of aesthetic experience and intellectual inclusion in the context of a book strengthens the capacity of a person and society.

Book Arsenal is organized in cooperation with Art Arsenal Community NGO. The project is supported by Partnership Fund for Resilient Ukraine (PFRU), funded by aid from the governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, the United States of America, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden.

Book Arsenal — 2024 is also held with the financial support of the Ministry of State for Culture and the Media of Germany within the project Exchange between German and Ukrainian Literary and Book Sectors.