International Book Arsenal Festival

35,000 people attended the Book Arsenal Festival in Kyiv


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The XII International Book Arsenal Festival, held in Kyiv from May 30 to June 2, has come to a close, attracting an audience of 35,000 – nearly matching the 36,000 attendees in 2021.

This year’s festival featured 100 Ukrainian publishers and five bookstores. The program included 160 literary and professional events, activities for children and teenagers, and special programs.


The Vivat Publishing House stood out, showcasing books damaged by a Russian missile in Kharkiv. The display drew crowds and served as a poignant reminder of the ongoing war against Ukrainians, their culture, and their language, as noted in the festival’s post.


“Book Arsenal is a multidisciplinary festival that tackles the most pressing societal issues of our time, particularly in the context of books,” said Olesya Ostrovska-Lyuta, General Director of Mystetskyi Arsenal. “This year, our curators, Tatiana Oharkova and Volodymyr Yermolenko, proposed a poignant metaphor – ‘Life on the Edge.’ Its stark embodiment and a call to support Kharkiv’s publishing industry were the charred book editions from the Kharkiv printing house ‘Factor-Druk,’ showcased at a dedicated stand. During the festival’s events, we collectively reflected on the experiences currently faced by our entire country, its culture, and its people,” she emphasized.


Atmosphere of the 12th International Book Arsenal:


The event hosted 260 guests, including:

  • writer and intellectual Oksana Zabuzhko (Ukraine),
  • historian of East and East Central Europe Franziska Davies (Germany),
  • writer and head of book magazine “Librújula” Antonio Iturbe (Spain),
  • author of the book “Cecil the Lion Had to Die” Olena Styazhkina (Ukraine),
  • author of the novel “Forgottenness” Tanya Malyarchuk (Ukraine),
  • historian and writer Dr. Botakoz Kassymbekova (Switzerland/Kazakhstan),
  • author of the book “War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the 21st Century” and journalist David Patrikarakos (UK),
  • Deputy Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine Noel Calhoun,
  • human rights lawyer and head of the Center for Civil Liberties Oleksandra Matviichuk (Nobel Peace Prize 2022 Ukraine),

and many other writers, philosophers, translators, and artists.

Additionally, the festival was attended by First Lady Olena Zelenska, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk, MP Petro Poroshenko, and other high-ranking officials.


Photo: Book Arsenal

Copy editing: Joy Tataryn, Terra Friedman King