London Book Fair Charity: Book Aid International Sends More Books to Ukraine

In News by Porter Anderson

Following its first 25,000-book shipment to Kyiv, Book Aid International at London Book Fair announces that 15,000 more books are heading to Ukraine.

At the 2024 London Book Fair on March 12 for the announcement of an additional 15,000 books going to PEN Ukraine from Book Aid International. From left are Sabrina Tucci of PEN International; Olha Mukha of PEN Ukraine; Bloomsbury CEO Nigel Newton; Book Aid International’s Alison Tweed; and English PEN’s Daniel Gorman. Image: BAI

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

‘Committed to Sending More’
One of two official charities of the 2024 London Book Fair, the UK-based Book Aid International, on Tuesday (March 12), the show’s opening day, marked the first year in its books-to-Ukraine effort—born at last year’s fair in April 2023—by announcing a new 15,000-book shipment to PEN Ukraine’s Unbreakable Libraries project.

In December, an initial 25,000-book shipment was announced in this project, with leading support from Hachette UK, Oxford University Press, Bloomsbury, HarperCollins, and Pan Macmillan

That original shipment went into Kyiv in November, and the organization says that more than 10,000 of those books, including children’s books, literary classics, art and leisure books, and English-as-a-foreign language texts, have now been distributed to more than 68 libraries, many of which are on the front line, according to Book Aid’s team members with whom Publishing Perspectives spoke on Tuesday.

In partnership with the Nova Post humanitarian initiative, Book Aid International’s publisher-donated books in that first tranche have been distributed to regions including Chernihiv, Kherson, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Kyiv, and Chernivtsi.

Alison Tweed at Olympia London on Tuesday, said, “When PEN Ukraine first reached out to Book Aid International at London Book Fair last year, we understood what an important project Unbreakable Libraries is, and we were keen to be involved. …

“The books our publisher partners have generously donated are now in the hands of people who most need them, and we’re committed to sending more.

“It’s good to know that these books will offer both comforts now and will help to build the futures of many Ukrainians who are facing the daily reality of war. We want to thank all our book donors and financial supporters for helping to make this book donation possible.”

And Bloomsbury CEO Nigel Newton—who is also Book Aid International’s president—spoke of how “a relationship forged a year ago at London Book Fair has had such a positive outcome,” starting Book Aid on a path to “supporting the Unbreakable Libraries project.

“Ensuring continued access to books for Ukrainians who are facing immeasurable challenges must remain at the forefront of this collaboration,” Newton said.

“I urge more publishers to join this important initiative by donating books, funds and spreading the word.”

During the course of Tuesday’s event, it was mentioned that publishers interested in working with the program should contact brian.martin@bookaid.org.

The other charity named by London Book Fair’s administration as an official humanitarian nonprofit program honored by the trade show this year is the National Literacy Trust, a UK-facing program “supported by the population and the publishing business, and reaching in 2022, what it reports as more than 1.3 million children and young people through school settings and in other community venues. ”

At London Book Fair 2024 on March 12. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson


Our coverage of the Russian war’s impact on Ukraine’s publishing industry is here, along with international reactions. More from Publishing Perspectives on Book Aid International is here, more on children’s books is here, more on charitable efforts in world publishing is here, and more on London Book Fair is here.

More of our coverage of the 2024 London Book Fair:

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.com, 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.