The Shakespeare and Company bookstore financially supported Chytomo


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The independent French bookstore Shakespeare and Company provided financial support to Chytomo media. Karolina Brdak, a representative of the bookstore, informed our editorial office about this.

She shared that for the Shakespeare and Company team, the most natural and obvious way to act in order not to remain helpless in times of war and “scope of the violence Ukrainians have been suffering since the beginning of the year was creating a Ukrainian department in the bookstore.


“There also has been an urgent need coming from our readers to learn more about Ukrainian history and culture and our role was simply to liaise between customers and the right selection of titles and authors. Later on the interest in the Ukrainian section at the shop inspired us to find a way to send a signal of support and solidarity by sharing the profits from the section with an organisation in Ukraine. We were looking for a structure that aligned with the bookshop’s values of supporting independent bookselling and publishing”, Brdak added. 


According to her, Chytomo impressed them with the project’s dynamism and ambition of introducing the diversity and vastness of Ukrainian independent literature and culture to the English-speaking public. “The English version of your website has become a reference for us to develop a list of authors and publishers to recommend to our customers, as I imagine it has for many other bookshops and publishers in the world. It’s been fantastic to be able to engage with your history and everything you do especially now when the context of your work has become so complicated. It’s really admirable”, Karolina said.


Shakespeare and Company sells English translations of works by Ilya Kaminsky, Serhiy Zhadan, Yevgenia Belorusets, Olia Hercules, Olesya Khromeychuk, and Andriy Kurkov. The bookstore also offers publications about Ukraine and Eastern Europe, such as works by Anne Applebaum, Timothy Snyder, Tim Judah, Svetlana Alexievich, Anna Reid and more.


“We tried to find authors whose voices are representative of the current moment and of different genres: fiction, poetry, history, essays, food writing. I think that one of the most interesting parts of a bookselling job is to be always on the lookout for new, exciting titles and writers and it has been very inspiring to discover new books coming from Ukraine, the bookstore noted. They believe that good writing, which is able to witness and translate the emotions of this horrifying moment in history, is now vital.


Shakespeare and Company decided to donate the profits from a selection of these Ukrainian books directly to a Ukrainian book organisation, choosing Chytomo. “It was very heartwarming to see that people became even more likely to buy the books when they knew the profits were going to be donated to Ukraine”, Brdak said.


According to her, a large increase in interest and demand for books published in Ukraine and about Ukraine is quite significant. “This curiosity sparked a big spike in new titles being translated to different languages and I have seen so many exciting books being published in English this year. I remember trying to order books from our stockists just after the invasion started and the selection available at that moment was so much slimmer than it is now. I’m really happy to see how many European publishers understand the gravity of this moment and invest their energy in publishing UA books, and so beautifully! I see the attention paid to the quality of publications: the books come with lovely cover designs, good paper and I recommend them to customers with confidence. What I would like to see more of is Ukrainian art, photography, and design books”, Karoline added.


The amount of financial support from Shakespeare and Company is 1,572 €.


Cooperation with Shakespeare and Company was carried out with the support of the Ukrainian Book Institute.


We would like to remind you, that The Library of Congress will add Chytomo to its archive. And furthermore, with Chytomo’s support, an anthology of Ukrainian poetry was published in the USA.


Photo: Wikipedia