The twenty-ninth edition of the Lviv BookForumthe largest literary festival in Ukraine, was held in a hybrid way (virtual and face-to-face), in this month of October, with around 40 guests who discussed topics such as art in times of war, memory, gender equality, loss, corruption, imperialism and hope.
Some of the highlights included Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood and her meeting with Ukrainian psychologist Yurii Prokhasko; the conversation between the Turkish writer Elif Shafak and the Ukrainian novelist Kateryna Kalytko; Israeli anthropologist Yuval Noah Harari, British narrator Neil Gaiman and Ukrainian journalist Sevgil Musayeva; the meeting between the Ukrainian historian Olena Stiazhkina, the British novelist of Tanzanian origin Abdulrazak Gurnah and the Mexican activist Lydia Cacho focused on post-colonialism; in addition to the colloquium between the British historian Margaret MacMillan and the Ukrainian historians Serhii Plokhii and Yaroslav Hrytsak on hope.
“The role of public intellectuals is not only to interpret reality, but also to illuminate it and, in doing so, to influence the world around us and the paths we take,” said the journalist. Sofia Cheliakcurator of the Lviv Bookforum, who also said about this spread that it is strategically arranged so that “writers and readers ask questions and tell their stories, in a conversation that develops challenging the evil that seeks to crush our freedom.”
The Hay Festival broadcast several of the events, which were freely accessible, in Spanish, English and Ukrainian through a link enabled for this on its website, with the aim of achieving global reach.
The international director of the Hay Festival, Christina Fuentes LaRoche, said at the time: “In these difficult times (…) we will take Ukraine to the world, offering these much-needed stories to a wider audience, while also encouraging the exchange of ideas with its international contemporaries. This program is an act of rebellion, a challenge to those who want to restrict freedom of expression and the tolerant exchange of ideas, and a catalyst for global change.
The Lviv BookForum has been held annually since 1994. In 2001 it had the presence of international writers for the first time and in 2006 it continued to increase its international growth within the framework of the Lviv Publishers Forum. Currently, it is the largest literary festival in Ukraine and one of the largest in Central and Eastern Europe.
Over the last 29 years, the festival has welcomed more than 3,000 authors from 51 countries, as well as 15,000 professionals from the book industry. In 2021, the festival reached more than 170,000 visits both online and offline.
Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the purpose of the Lviv BookForum was to provide an overview of the year’s literary novelties in Ukraine, presenting the most brilliant authors from abroad; creating a full dialogue between representatives of Ukrainian and international literature; spreading Ukrainian culture abroad; and forging connections with writers and readers around the world.
Every year, the festival is structured around a central theme and organizes events throughout Lviv. Attendees can enjoy presentations, conferences and seminars, concerts and film screenings, as well as interviews, exhibitions, readings and many other activities. Guests over the years have included the likes of Paulo Coelho, Zygmunt Bauman, Justin Gorder, Janusz Leon Wisniewski, Erland Lou, DBC Pierre, Frederic Beigbeder, Anne Applebaum, Timothy Snyder, Olga Tokarczuk, Patti Smith, Peter Pomerantsev , Anne Applebaum and Marci Shore.
This edition took place between October 6 and 9 and featured the participation of Abdulrazak Gurnah, Margaret Atwood, Yuval Noah Harari, Elif Shafak, Neil Gaiman, Victoria Amelina, Jonathan Littell and Liuba Tsybulska; Henry Marsh, Rachel Clarke, Yurii Prokhasko and Volodymyr Stanchyshyn, among many other guests.
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This is how the 2022 edition of the Hay Festival and the Lviv Bookforum in Ukraine were experienced