The First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska visited the 12th International Book Arsenal Festival in Kyiv. “Life on the Edge” is the focus theme and main metaphor of this Book Arsenal.

Together with Olesia Ostrovska-Liuta, Director General of the Mystetskyi Arsenal, and Yuliia Kozlovets, Coordinator of the International Book Arsenal Festival, First Lady Olena Zelenska visited the stands of Ukrainian publishing houses, including the exhibition of burned books entitled “Books Destroyed by Russia.”

Olena Zelenska, Telegram.

“It is important to talk not only about literature but also about how Russia is destroying Ukrainian culture and the people who create it. After all, this is not the first time that Russia has burned our books along with libraries, bookstores, and museums. These books were supposed to smell of ink, but they smell of grief,” Zelenska noted.

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The First Lady purchased several remaining books by Vivat publishing house, which was destroyed by a Russian missile attack, including “Izmaragd of Princess Nesvitska” by Oleksandr Irvanets and “Happiness Hunters” by Valeriy Puzik. She mentioned that she had also bought the following books for her home library: “Poems and Songs” by the poet Hlib Babich, who was killed in the war, “Forpost Okhtyrka” by Yevheniia Podobna, “The Train Arrives on Schedule: Stories of People and Railways” by Marichka Paplauskaite (the author of the foreword is the British actor, writer, director and Ukrzaliznytsia passenger Stephen Fry), “Home for Dom” by Victoria Amelina, a writer who died in a Russian shelling a few days after the 2023 Book Arsenal.

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The pilot forwarded documents to Ukraine related to the activities of his military unit as well as private photos of the command staff of the 22nd Heavy Bombing Aviation Division, HUR said.

“No one leaves the Arsenal without a stack of new books. In the time of Ukrainian resistance to aggression, it is no longer just about reading, but also about solidarity and preserving our voice,” the first lady said.

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The second day of the Book Arsenal International Festival attracted even more attendees eager to delve into reflections on the victories and challenges faced by Ukrainian publishing houses during the war.

Photo: Oleksandr Avramenko.

The festival also catered to the youngest literature enthusiasts. The Workshop pavilion organized a session on the fundamentals of politics and media literacy tailored for children and teenagers.

Photo: Oleksandr Avramenko.

A highlight of the day was the talk titled “Ukrainian Radio: 100 Years of Shared Presence.” Radio personnel shared intriguing cases from their broadcasting experiences in the occupied territories of Ukraine and during full-scale warfare.

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Photo: Oleksandr Avramenko.

Photo: Oleksandr Avramenko.

At the Publishing Stage, the event “Books as a Form of Resistance” took place, where experts discussed the increasing popularity of Ukrainian literature abroad during the war and strategies to sustain it.

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