Ukraine at the Book World festival in Prague: presentations, discussions, Ukrainian stand 

On June 12 the International Book Fair and the Book World festival ended in Prague with a Ukrainian stand and a Ukrainian programme.  

The organizers of the book fair provided Ukraine with a large stand, which worked throughout the festival from June 9-12 and gathered crowds of people who wanted to get acquainted with Ukrainian books.  

«It is important for us that Ukraine and its culture are talked about. In that way we can present it to the world because this is proof that it is alive», said Yevhen Perebyinis, the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Czech Republic, during the official opening of Ukraine’s national stand. «Putin says that Ukraine doesn’t exist, but it not only exists, it also publishes thousands of books in its language and presents them around the world. I thank the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, festival director Radovan Auer and all those involved in organizing and filling this stand for their tireless work on their cultural front». 

The Ukrainian programme included daily morning and evening readings of Ukrainian texts: Czech intellectuals and festival participants read works by Ukrainian authors. Festival visitors were able to get acquainted with the works of Kateryna Mikhalitsyna and the Czech translation of her book «Who Grows in the Forest?» as well as Yevheniia Kononenko’s novel «The Last Wish» in Czech. 

The Jiří Theiner Award was an important event for Ukrainians. This year it was to be awarded to Svitlana Alexievich, an author of Ukrainian origin, for freedom of speech. However, due to illness, she could not come to Prague and handed the award to the Ukrainian delegation of writers: «I am very sorry that I can not be at the festival. I would like to say that the Jiří Theiner Award is deserved by the Ukrainian delegation of writers, representing a courageous country, which we admire and in whose victory we believe! Ukraine today is on the front line of the fight against evil. It must know that we are with it»,  noted Svitlana Alexievich. 

The Ukrainian programme included discussions with Ukrainian and Czech journalists and authors. Particularly, they discussed publicism and literary reportage in the conditions of war. Also a Czech translation of the book «Crimean Tatar Cuisine» about the history and culture of the Crimean Tatar people as an essential part of modern Ukrainian culture was presented at the festival. During the presentation, there was a conversation with Artem Braichenko and Alim Aliev about Crimea.  

«Russia’s war against Ukraine, and finally against Europe, began eight years ago with the temporary occupation of Crimea. Therefore, it is important today to reveal to the world Crimean Tatar culture, the identity that Russia is so desperately trying to destroy. Part of such culture is gastronomy – not only the ability to prepare a national dish but also to know the traditions, and history of the people. That is why it is very symbolic that through the translation of this publication we immerse Czech readers into the colorful and tasty Crimea» said Alim Aliev, a Deputy Director General of the Ukrainian Institute.  

The Ukrainian cultural community is grateful to the organizers of the Book World Festival for their help and assistance in the implementation of the Ukrainian programme, as well as for supporting the Ukrainian people in these difficult times. 

Photo: Svět Knihy Prague

Organizers: Book World, Ukrainian Institute, Embassy of Ukraine in the Czech Republic, Book Arsenal, Ukrainian Book Institute, PEN Ukraine