Ukraine: ‘Chytomo’ Opens New Award for Ukrainian Publishing

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The Ukrainian publishing trade magazine ‘Chytomo’ opens a new award with support from Germany’s ministry of culture, Frankfurter Buchmesse, and the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels.

‘Chytomo’ co-founders Oksana Khmeliovska, left, and Iryna Baturevych. Images: Chytomo

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

Deadline for Nominations: September 15
With the support of Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 18 to 22) and the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Germany’s publishers and booksellers association, the Ukrainian book industry magazine Chytomo is today (August 29) announcing the Chytomo Award, a recognition of “outstanding achievements in the Ukrainian publishing and literary sphere.”

Germany’s ministry of culture, led by Claudia Roth, is reported to be providing a purse of €4,000 (US$4,350) for the winner of each of the new award’s three categories, as part of Berlin’s newly announced €900,000 initiative designed to create “wider familiarity with Ukrainian culture and history in Germany.”

It’s expected that the award will be presented near the end of the year and will honor “the most remarkable achievements which contribute to the development of the book market and the industry as a whole, as well as to the promotion of reading.”

Claudia Roth

Eligibility is not restricted to book publishers. In addition, nominations can be made to highlight the work of book bloggers, journalists, libraries, bookstores, and other players and operations with achievements “have been particularly notable during the year.”

While the time frame would normally be restricted to one year, in this opening cycle, the program is expanding the time factor of eligibility this time to include both 2022 and 2023 “recognizing all the challenges that the book industry faced after the full-scale invasion and the extraordinary examples of resilience and creativity it demonstrated.”

The Chytomo Award Categories

The three core categories of this new awards regime are:

  • Book Publishing Market Trendsetter: awarded “for the development of innovative approaches in publishing houses, the creative transformation of the business, and the development of the book and/or literary landscape of Ukraine”
  • Book Initiative That Promotes Reading: awarded “for finding new methods to bring books to readers, cultivating a positive image for reading, transforming the educational process through reading”
  • Ukrainian Book Ambassador: awarded “for personal contribution to the visibility of Ukrainian books and literature in the world, and contributing to the formation of a positive image of Ukrainian literature and culture”

In addition Frankfurter Buchmesse is to present a special award in recognition of “exceptional achievements of Ukrainian publishers,” including the opportunity for booth participation at the world’s largest international book publishing trade show in its 76th year, 2024.

In making the announcement today, Chytomo co-founder Iryna Baturevych is quoted, saying, “This is the first comprehensive award of this kind in the Ukrainian book industry.

“Essentially, it acknowledges the new realities of the market, in which the role of book bloggers, new media, innovative solutions for publishers and distributors, and ultimately activists and the public, is constantly growing.

“As the industry becomes more competitive, I think the time has come to recognize not only outstanding literary works but also real phenomena in the world of literature and book publishing: those who set trends, devise innovative solutions, foster conditions for the emergence of new books, authors and readers, and promote Ukrainian literature abroad.”

And co-founder Oksana Khmeliovska says, “If you read Chytomo, you will easily recall lots of astounding stories, achievements, and unexpected book market news: the book boom in Podil and throughout Ukraine; the opening of the Kyiv office of one of the world’s most famous literary agencies; 30,000 copies of a debut title at a newly opened publishing house; and the transformation of paper coffee cups into book paper.

“Yes, all during the war. Yes, almost without any state support but with a firm belief that we’re the ones who should support the state be it in the ranks of the armed forces of Ukraine, the cultural arena, or in the media.

“We’re creating the Chytomo Award primarily to honor the achievements of people who have created literary phenomena; established book trends; amplified important voices; and elevated the profile of Ukrainian literature international. It’s important to note that in addition to the monetary reward, the winners will receive exclusive consultations from German publishing experts.”

Nomination and Selection Details

Nominations are welcome from both Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian organizations–Ukrainian cultural institutions abroad; civil associations; law firms; educational institutions; library institutions; associations; media outlets; and more. A nominating party can put forward up to three nominations. Nominations should be made using this form.

  • During the first stage of the selection process, an organizing committee compiles a longlist of candidates after reviewing application forms for compliance with the requirements and priorities of the award.
  • Shortlists for each nomination will be defined by a qualified jury, members of which will be announced separately.
  • Finally, the jury members will select the winners of the award by evaluating candidates across each category.

Award winners are each to receive a statuette and their category’s purse of €4,000. The Frankfurt Book Fair special award will include the opportunity of exhibitor participation in 2024.

The Chytomo Award ceremony, featuring the finalists and jury members, is to take place in November in Kyiv either in person or digitally streamed, depending on circumstances on the ground at the time. A list of winners will also be posted on the Chytomo site.

A PDF with the Chytomo Award’s regulations in English can be found here.

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 Ukrainian publishing industry and book market is here. More on international book and publishing awards is here, more on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more on the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels is here, and more on the German book 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.