In 2023, Ukraine participated in the London Book Fair as a Guest Spotlight country. The Ukraine focus was reflected in a series of events.
Programming took the form of conversations on topics including how Ukrainian writers have responded to the Russian assault; the role played by books in countering disinformation and the support of democracy; women’s voices in such discussions; and writing from the battlefield. Stand B201 displayed contemporary Ukrainian publishing.
Among the authors of the programme who spoke about Ukraine were Olesia Khromechuk, Mariana Savka, Luke Harding, Victoria Amelina, Oleksandr Mykhed, Iaryna Chorhohus, Orysia Lutsevych, Kateryna Babkina, Tetyan Teren, Nina Murray, Tanja Tuma, Iva Pezuashvili, Paul Robert Magocsi, and Vladislav Davidzon.
On the eve of the London Book Fair on 17 April, a discussion ‘Writing in War: Ukrainian Writers Speak’ was held. The event was organised by the British Library with the support of the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute as part of the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture.
Celebrated Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina and journalist Tetyana Teren reflected on whether writers carry a responsibility to focus their literary gaze on the violence surrounding them and how continuing to write and publish can itself be a form of resistance. With the invasion of Ukraine now into a second year, they discussed how writers have responded to the war in different ways, and how writing and form continue to evolve as a means of processing trauma on an individual and collective basis. Victoria and Tetyana appeared in conversation with Claire Armitstead from the Guardian.
The Ukrainian programme featured:
The programme Guest Spotlight: Ukraine was presented by the British Council, the British Library, PEN England, PEN International, PEN Ukraine, the Ukrainian Book Institute and the Ukrainian Institute.
Also, as part of the UK/Ukraine Culture Season, a networking reception took place at the London Book Fair. During this event, foreign literary and publishing professionals had the opportunity to introduce themselves to their Ukrainian counterparts.