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Today I take a brief look at how Ukrainians have been using their literature to promote their larger identity in the world.
From the Ukrainian writer Katerina Sergatskova,
“I’ve lived in Kyiv since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 – and now I’m an internally displaced person again. After a Russian military plane was shot down in front of my windows, my family and I were evacuated to a safer place in Lviv, western Ukraine. As editor of the media outlet Zaborona, I spend days working from our temporary home, collecting evidence of the war.
Shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the coronavirus pandemic brought an unexpected cultural breakthrough in the country. Ukraine had one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world, and the Ukrainian Books Institute, a relatively new government agency, came up with the idea of offering ‘culture vouchers’ as a reward for getting a Covid vaccination. With each 1,000 hryvnia voucher (about £25) you could buy tickets to a movie or a concert, a gym membership or books. Citizens spent more than 1bn hryvnias on books.
Many Ukrainians hadn’t previously been in the habit of buying books – studies suggested that the average Ukrainian reads only one book a year. But since Russia annexed Crimea and occupied part of the Donbas in 2014, the Ukrainian authorities have passed several laws regarding books. One banned the import of books printed in Russia. Another one obliged the media to publish in Ukrainian. Programmes were launched to support local writers and the translation of foreign authors into Ukrainian. This led to a surge in the development of Ukrainian publishing houses and the emergence of many new writers.”
From Unesco’s description of the Ukrainian Book Institute,
“Key objectives of the measure:
The foundation of the Ukrainian Book Institute was caused by the intention of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine to intensify the development of book industry as one of the main parts of the creative industries, and to establish an institution responsible for the implementation of the state policy in this sphere, promote reading, support publishing, stimulate the literary translations and to promote Ukrainian literature abroad
Main feature of the measure:
Ukrainian Book Institute was founded in 2016 as a state-run institution under the Ministry of Culture. The Institute has 6 main programmes:
1) promotion of the Ukrainian literature abroad (international projects, international book fairs, international networking)
2)support of the translations
3) Ukrainian book - support and facilitating of the Ukrainian book market development
4) Digital library
5) Promotion of reading
6) Renewal of the library funds
Results expected through the implementation of the measure:
It is expected that the measure will facilitate the establishment of national and international networks of partnership; enlargement of reading audience in the country ; digitalization of the Ukrainian literature; increase in number of books of Ukrainian authors translated into other languages etc. Besides, the Ukrainian Book Institure is responsible for the presentation of the Ukrainian bokkselling and publishing industry on the international book fairs, such as Frankfurt International Book Fair, Leipzig International Book fair, London Book Fair and many others, which will contribute to the presentation of the Ukrainian culture abroad as well as to the development and internationalization of the Ukrainian literature through establishing long-term partnerships”
They have a (partially) English language website here: book-institute.org.ua/...
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and share what’s on your mind this morning.