Germany Funds Book Industry Exchange With Ukraine at €900,000

In News by Porter Anderson

The program, coordinated by the Börsenverein, brings together events with organizations in both German and Ukraine, for mutual book industry promotion.

The Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska speaks at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2022 on stage at Messe Frankfurt’s Harmonie Hall. Image: FBM, Meike Dinklage

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

A Program Scheduled To Run to June
This morning (July 26), Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 18 to 22) and the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Germany’s publishers and booksellers association, are announcing an initiative that will see as much as €900,000 (US978,931) devoted to a “deeper exchange” between the German and Ukrainian book industries.

The development is led by Claudia Roth, Germany’s federal minister of culture, whose concept comprises a series of projects intended to bolster the work of Ukrainian authors, publishers, and media professionals, while promoting “wider familiarity with Ukrainian culture and history in Germany.”

The Börsenverein is in the lead on this effort, working with Frankfurter Buchmesse; the Ukrainian Book Institute; Kyiv’s Mystetskyi Arsenal; the book industry magazine Chytomo, with which Publishing Perspectives readers are especially familiar; and Goethe-Institut Ukraine.

Among the activities which are to receive support from the funding allocation:

  • Enhancing the collection of German literature held by Ukrainian libraries
  • Inviting Ukrainian authors to speak at German bookshops and other literary venues
  • A new “Ukrainian Publishing Prize”
  • An English-language online platform for literature from Ukraine and other countries in the region
  • A spotlight once more on Ukraine at Frankfurter Buchmesse
Roth: ‘Key Momentum’

The Frankfurt Pavilion audience for a presentation with Ukrainian author Serhiy Zhadan at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2023. Image: FBM, Domenic Driessen

In a prepared statement on today’s announcement, Roth is quoted, saying, “With its war of aggression against Ukraine, Russia is also systematically waging war against Ukrainian culture and social identity. We see this whenever and wherever Russian aggression is specifically directed against libraries, printing houses, and other institutions associated with literature.

Claudia Roth

“It’s almost impossible for publishers to work under such conditions, and the public’s access to books in general is also made extremely difficult. This makes our project in service of a stronger exchange between the German and Ukrainian book industries all the more important.

“Each partner to the project, which will be headed up by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, will contribute key momentum to the joint effort to safeguard the shattered literary landscape in Ukraine.

“At the same time, these partners will also be contributing to a deeper understanding of Ukrainian culture and literature here in Germany. The federal government is doing its utmost to support Ukraine in this regard.”

Peter Kraus vom Cleff

Peter Kraus vom Cleff

Peter Kraus vom Cleff at the Börsenverein says, “As representatives of the German book trade, we’re eager to show solidarity with our Ukrainian colleagues and mitigate the devastating effects of war on arts and literary communities wherever possible.

“We thank minister Roth for providing this vital support alongside many other partners.

“The forthcoming projects will encourage us to learn more from each other, as well as to learn more about each other. The projects will also help to make German literature more widely known in Ukraine and Ukrainian literature more widely known in Germany.

“This is an important building block in efforts to rebuild the publishing and book-industry landscape in Ukraine.”

Oleksandra Koval

And Oleksandra Koval, director of the Ukrainian Book Institute, is quoted, saying, “Given the conditions caused by Russia’s full-scale military aggression against Ukraine, I cannot overestimate the importance of support for the Ukrainian book industry within the framework of cultural cooperation.

“I’m especially grateful for the collection of books by prominent German authors that will be made available to our public libraries, but also for the active inclusion of Ukrainian authors at leading German cultural events and support for the Ukrainian book trade at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

“All these opportunities provided to Ukrainian literature help to strengthen the voice of Ukrainian culture in Europe.

“This is something that is especially vital to all Ukrainians at the present time.”

The funding period for this program is scheduled to run until June.

Our coverage of the Russian war’s impact on Ukraine’s publishing industry is here, along with international reactions. More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more on the work of the Börsenverein is here, and more on the German book publishing market 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.