2024 International Book Arsenal Festival

7 foreign publishers to attend the International Book Arsenal Festival in Kyiv


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Publishers from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Italy, and Poland will attend the 2024 Book Arsenal this June as part of a new Fellowship Program. Aiming to bring together foreign and Ukrainian publishers, the International Book Arsenal Festival plans to hold the program annually.


Publishers and literary agents from Ukraine and abroad will connect during Kyiv’s International Book Arsenal Festival to develop and expand professional networks. Foreign guests will be introduced to and educated on opportunities within the Ukrainian book market, industry, and institutions. Attendees will also be invited to participate in festival events and B2B meetings with Ukrainian publishers.


Curator of the Professional Program of the Book Arsenal, Oksana Karpiuk, said that the format of the Fellowship Program is typical of international book festivals. She reiterated the importance of building personal connections, communication, and partnerships within the publishing industry.


“Any Fellowship Program is about becoming familiar with the country’s book market, institutions, and general literary scene, along with Ukrainian colleagues, because the business of buying and selling rights is highly dependent on personal contacts and friendly relations. The International Book Arsenal Festival provides such a platform now, and we hope Ukrainian publishers will take advantage of it,” she said.


The festival selection committee received applications from 17 countries. 7 publishers will take part in the program:


  • Francesca Varotto (Italy): Editor-in-chief of the foreign fiction list at Marsilio Editori publishing house, a subsidiary of Feltrinelli Group.
  • Nestoras Poulakos (Greece): Publisher and co-founder of Vakxikon Publications, secretary general of the Association of Book Publishers from 2016–2019.
  • Anna Schmidt Andersen (Denmark): Editor at Forlæns Publishing since 2018.
  • David Kakabadze (Georgia): Journalist, translator, and publisher. Editor-in-chief of Siesta Publishing since 2021.
  • Frank Henseleit-Lucke (Germany): Translator and publisher. His publishing house, Kupido Literaturverlag, published German translations of Sofia Yablonska’s works. Henseleit-Lucke will also publish the first German translation of “Ivan and Phebe” by Oksana Lutsyshyna.
  • Beata Stasińska (Poland): Literary agent, co-founder of W.A.B. Publisher. Manager of the editorial and rights departments.
  • Jan Kravčík (Czech Republic): Author, translator. Besides his role as a senior advisor to the Czech Government Office in regulatory policy, Krawchyk has 25 years of experience in the publishing industry as an author, translator, book designer, editor, and publisher at Gorgona Books.


Participants were selected through an open call for foreign publishers, agents, and rights managers.



“I was impressed to find out that the International Book Arsenal Festival will host a scholarship program. To have the opportunity to get to know Ukrainian literature, which I know too little about and which deserves to be translated and discussed more in Italy, is a privilege. The fact that a country decides to invest and give space for books and cultural exchange at a most dramatic time means a lot. I can only imagine how much culture and energy I will be able to take in during my stay in Kyiv,” Francesca Varotto commented.


David Kakabadze is convinced that Ukraine is waging a war not only for itself, but also for the entire civilized world. “Two years ago, shortly after the outburst of Russia’s brutal war, Siesta Publishing translated and published Serhiy Rudenko’s “Zelenskyi without Makeup,” which became the first Ukrainian book published in Georgia after the start of the full-scale invasion,” David Kakabadze said. “We did not stop, and a year later presented the best examples of contemporary Ukrainian literature to Georgian reader: “Point Zero” by Artem Chekh and “My Grandfather Danced Better Than Anyone Else” by Kateryna Babkina. The next Ukrainian book we plan to publish is “Home for Dom” by Victoria Amelina. I am happy to have become a part of the International Book Arsenal Festival scholarship program where I will have the opportunity to meet Ukrainian colleagues and exchange experiences and ideas with them,” he added.


Anna Schmidt Andersen expressed great interest in Ukrainian children’s books and illustrated literature in general. Anna Schmidt has no doubt that Ukraine has much to offer in these domains.


Conducting a proper “field study” of the Ukrainian publishing scene is a primary professional goal for Jan Kravčík: “I would really like to establish new connections by meeting publishers and authors, but I am also interested in Ukrainian illustrators, especially for children’s books. I can’t wait to see Kyiv again, browse through books in bookstores and try to speak Ukrainian, which I’ve been learning for two years.”


Kravčík isn’t the first publisher to visit the capital of Ukraine. Frank Henseleit-Lucke visited Ukraine in 2016 and translated a novel by Manuel Chavez Nogales that describes Kyiv between 1917 and 1922. He later wrote a book with his impressions of traveling through Ukraine.


Among the publishing houses with which foreign cultural figures seek to establish professional contact are the Old Lion Publishing House, Komora, Folio, Local History, Meridian Czernowitz, Komora, Vivat, Kalamar, Nora-Druk, Anetta Antonenko Publishing House, Discursus, Vikhola, and others.


For meetings between Ukrainian and foreign publishers and rights managers, the organizers have set aside a separate location on Friday, May 31 between 2 pm and 7 pm, and Saturday between 11 am and 7 pm.


Previously, the International Book Arsenal Festival implemented a Literature for Export Program to establish effective connections between foreign business partners. Oksana Karpiuk emphasized that the Book Arsenal Fellowship Program is a continuation of the Book Arsenal’s international activities.


“First of all, the decision to launch this program during a full-scale invasion was difficult considering the risks. Despite great interest in Ukraine, many foreigners have alternative opportunities to meet with Ukrainian publishers at European fairs. Visiting Ukraine during a full-scale invasion has turned out to be a difficult choice for many,” she said, expressing her hope that the program will become established after a successful first season. She envisions the Book Arsenal Fellowship Program becoming a familiar and desirable program for many foreign partners.


160 events will take place during the International Book Arsenal Festival. In addition to the professional program, there will be events dedicated to the focus theme “Life on the Edge,” the literary program “Bridging the Gap,” the children’s and teenage program “With Eyes Wide Open,” and special programs “The Continuation of the Voice” and “Cities on the Edge.”


The festival will run between May 30 and last until June 2.


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Copy editing: Terra Friedman King

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