London Book Fair: Ukraine’s Presence at the Trade Show

In News by Porter Anderson

Two programming events at London Book Fair will have particular bearing on Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

The flag of Ukraine is flown next to the European Union flag in the western city of Lviv, March 8. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Serhii Ivashchuk

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

London Welcomes the Ukrainian Book Institute
In some of the most recent developments in Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked assault on Ukraine, with Joanna Sugden and Drew Hinshaw at the Wall Street Journal reporting today (March 30) that the refugee exodus from the beleaguered country has topped 4 million people.

Ellen Francis with the Washington Post reports that Ukrainian officials in Chernihiv say Russian forces have struck the area today, just after Moscow’s pledge to scale down military activity there, and BBC News is writing that Putin has demanded a surrender by Ukrainian troops before his military will stop shelling the devastated city of Mariupol.

Publishing Perspectives has asked the administration of London Book Fair (April 5 to 7) where in the trade show the nightmare of the Russian invasion of the country may be reflected. Last week, as you’ll recall, there were a series of prominent features related to the violence at Italy’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the first of the season’s major international events.

And we learn now that the Ukrainian Book Institute is to exhibit on the gallery of Olympia London’s Grand Hall.

We see the entry in the exhibitor directory placing the venue at 2B05, which organizers say is near the press office.

Producer Reed Exhibitions Ltd. (“RX”), in fact, have offered the Book Institute its stand free of charge and has assisted with its installation. We’re told that the stand has been designed and will be manned by members of the Ukrainian Book Institute’s team based in London.

It’s also expected that the office of the UNHCR (the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees) will be on-site at Olympia London in a fundraising effort for Ukrainian refugees and displaced people in many parts of the world. That effort is there by RX’s permission.

We’re also being directed to two events in the show’s programming of interest relative to Russia’s violence.

The Role of Publishing and Culture During Global Conflict
Main Stage (Pillar Hall)
Tuesday, April 5
3:15 to 4 p.m. BST

  • Chair: Stephen Lotinga, CEO, Publishers Association
  • Cortina Butler, deputy director Arts at British Council
  • Bodour Al Qasimi, president of the International Publishers Association
  • Jane Mann, director of education reform at Cambridge University Press
  • Oleksandr Afonin, president of the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association (a recorded video message)

Description: “As the world has reacted in condemnation of the Russia-Ukraine war, many in the international publishing community have sought to understand what they can do and how they might effectively offer help and support during the crisis. This seminar, organized by the Publishers Association, considers the role of publishers and the wider cultural industries during global conflict. It will highlight some of the specific initiatives and responses from the publishing industry to the Ukraine crisis, hearing from publishers, industry bodies and UK government.

“More broadly, it will consider how culture can play a role during difficult times of global conflict, and what that means in practice.”

Dialogues of War: A Live Conversation on Ukraine
English PEN Literary Salon
Wednesday, April 6
12 to 12:45 p.m. (This is an update to a previously published time, which was changed.)

At this writing, it appears that elements of this program may still be coming together.

It’s hoped that this event will shape up as a panel discussion. The “What’s On” pages of London Book Fair list the participation of broadcaster Georgina Godwin and PEN Ukraine president Andrei Kurkov, but Publishing Perspectives understands that these details may be in flux.

Follow our coverage of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine and its impact on the country’s publishing players and international industry reactions. 

More on the freedom to publish and the freedom of expression is here. More on London Book Fair is here, and more on world publishing’s trade shows and book fairs is here. More on the Ukrainian Book Institute is here. And more on the Federation of European Publishers is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the world media partner of the International Publishers Association.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.