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Book forum in Lviv
Nataliya Kosmolinska, a journalist, and Romko MALKO, a photographer, have been greatly impressed by their visit to the Publishers’ Forum in Lviv. Now they share some of their impressions.
It is not accidental that the biggest annual book fair in Ukraine is held in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. Lviv has been a major cultural center for centuries. It has absorbed various cultural influences and it is but natural that a major international cultural event should occur there. Not only obvious factors play a role here — what is known as “Lviv’s very special romantic aura” must have been a factor in the decision to organize such book fairs in Lviv.
The official name of the book fair is Forum vydavtsiv u Lvovi (Publishers’ Forum in Lviv). This year it has been held for the fifteenth time which is an achievement in itself. This time, in fact as always, the organizers have done their absolute best to make the Forum a success and satisfy both the publishers and the general public. The program of the Forum was an extensive and comprehensive one. Many writers who attended the Forum could meet and talk to their readers and it is at such meetings that the readers’ likes and preferences are ascertained and revealed. The publishers from all over Ukraine who came to Lviv to participate in the Forum, also benefited from meetings they had at the Forum — new contracts were signed, new trends were explored, new ideas were voiced. Also, publishers had excellent opportunities to advertise their products at numerous bookstands at the venue where the Forum was held and in bookstores all over town.
I think it would be true to say that most of those who write books and publish books in Ukraine begin to be impatiently looking forward to participating in the Forum long before it opens in September. Writers want to complete their new books to present them at the Forum, publishers hasten to release new books and make new advances in book publishing. Book artists are also eager to take part in the Forum — they want to show what they have achieved and to seek new commissions.
The people of Lviv are also enthusiastic about the book fair because it is a big event in the life of their city, and the book lovers expect to feast on books at the bookstands. Those who sell books have an excellent opportunity to buy books wholesale and make deals and proper arrangements for the future.
Incidentally, there are many books from foreign publishers that are offered at the Forum, mostly from Russia and Poland. The prices are lower than they will be later at bookstores. Autograph-seekers get copies of the books they like signed by the authors; poets and prose writers recite their works — the Forum is bustling and noisy but it is also a highly intellectual affair.
Among the guests of honour of the previous Forums were well-known literati from Russia, Poland, Austria and other countries: Paulo Coelho from Brazil, whose popular-culture bestsellers are popular in Ukraine too; the essayist and prose-writer Petr Veil, the detective-story writer Aleksandra Marinina (born in Lviv, now lives in Russia). This year among the guests were Tatyana Tolstaya and Vladimir Sorokin from Russia whose books enjoy a considerable popularity in Ukraine, and Manuela Gretkowska, a representative of the most recent trends in literature from Poland. The controversial theater director of wide fame Roman Viktyuk, who hails from Lviv but now works elsewhere, was a guest of honor at the Forum.
Within the framework of the Forum, a literary festival, Literatura v eru mas-media (Literature in the Era of Mass Media), was held to provide more opportunities for acquainting Ukrainian publishers, translators and readers with new literature trends observed and new books published in various countries of the world.
Roman Viktyuk, in addition to being a guest of honor, was commissioned to direct a performance, Ravlion vyrushaye u mandry (Ravlion Sets Forth on a Journey) which was to be staged to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the Forum. During the performance which was held at the Lviv Opera House, a fashion show with models riding horses was followed by other eccentricities and it culminated in a pig decorated with pearls making a shocking appearance on the stage. Mr Viktyuk, explaining the symbolism of the show which must have been somewhat shocking to some people in the audience, said that it was to demonstrate that “art can touch the hearts of people when it is true and is filled with love…Even the sow realized that life cannot do without beauty…Beauty should be everywhere, even in the dirty politics. This pig on the stage, I believe, has been arguably my best achievement on stage — the sow, me and nobody else on the stage, and the audience that is shocked into silence…”
The 15th Forum awarded its Grand Prix to the A-Ba-Ba-Ha-La-Ma-Ha Publishing house for the book Vilyam Shekspir. Hamlet, prints danskiy (William Shakespeare. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark) in translation into Ukrainian done by Yury Andrukhovych (one of the best known Ukrainian writers of today). The book was designed and illustrated by the Ukrainian artist Vladyslav Yerko who has designed several books for the same publisher, and the books of his design and art have been recognized as “masterpieces of book design and book illustration”. Hamlet is indeed an amazing creation of the art of book design and now I, and I’m sure many other book lovers, are looking forward to acquiring the next book from this publisher, Romeo and Juliet by W. Shakespeare, also in Andrukhovych’s translation. The director of the A-Ba-Ba-Ga-La-Ma-Ga Publishing house Ivan Malkovych promised that the book would soon be released.
In the words of the editor of the Krytyka (literary criticism) periodical Andriy Mokrousov, the Forum was “a celebration of the Book, and the number of people who want to take part in these celebrations continues to steadily grow.”
The Publishers’ Forum in Lviv is organized by the public organization Forum Vydavtsiv (Forum of Publishers) in Lviv. This year, 652 publishers took part in the Forum. 263 meetings, conferences, round-table discussions and other events were held at the Forum; 135 of them were held within the framework of a literary festival, Literatura v eru mas-media (Literature in the Era of Mass Media); more than 150 authors from 15 countries in the world participated in the festival.325 books from 65 publishers took part in the contest for the Best Book of the 15th Forum.
At the presentation of the newly published faximile
book Peresopnytske Yevanheliye (the New
Testament) issued by Adef Publishers.
Ivan Malkovych, director of the
A-Ba-Ba-Ha-La-Ma-Ha Publishing house with
the Publishers’ Forum Grand Prix for
the book Hamlet. Prince of Denmark.
The dust jacket of Hamlet. Prince of Denmark,
published by A-Ba-Ba-Ha-La-Ma-Ha; translation
into Ukrainian by Yury Andrukhovych.
Dmytro Stus (son of the prominent poet Vasyl Stus)
on the right, and Volodymyr Stretovych, Verkhovna
Rada deputy, at the book fair.
Roman Viktyuk, theatre director, at the opening
of the Publishers’ Forum in Lviv.