The New StatesmanThe New Statesman

Death and literature in Ukraine

By Bruno Maçães

04 Jul 2023 · 3 min read

informed Summary

  1. Kyiv again hosted an international book fair in June after being forced to cancel it last year. The event attracted a large, mostly young crowd, including President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife.

Kyiv is almost entirely back to normal. There are traffic jams coming to Mystetskyi Arsenal, Ukraine’s leading cultural institution, and the city bars, now open until 11pm after curfew was extended to midnight, are starting to fill up.

But a crowd this size you can find only at the book fair. The International Book Arsenal Festival has returned to Kyiv after being understandably cancelled last year. I enter with the Bulgarian political scientist Ivan Krastev, one of this year’s speakers. We find our way with some difficulty, moving slowly among the large, mostly young crowd. Krastev seemed to read my mind when he mused: “In this part of the world, literature and history create nations.”

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