The event lasted from September 12 through 16, when both Leopolitans and guests of the city had an opportunity to participate in a huge literary and artistic performance held for the 19th time by visiting festivals, conferences, charity events and other literary and artistic activities, totalling 800 in all, attended by 231 authors. “I never thought the Lviv Book Forum would become my lifework,” the opening ceremony audience was told by Oleksandra Koval who has served as the Book Forum NGO President since 1995. “I am very happy that this little seed has grown into such a great event.” Let us recall that the first forum was held at the National Museum in Svobody Avenue and brought together just 47 publishers. Subsequently, the organizers moved venue to the Palace of Arts in Copernicus Street, occupying first half a floor, then an entire floor of the palace. However, even that turned out to be not enough, so the publishers brought their books outdoors and covered densely with them the Potocki Palace courtyard and Svobody Avenue for several years already, while the forum’s organizers leased rooms at all Lviv theaters and universities to host its numerous events.
The participants of the 2012 Fair included 587 Ukrainian and foreign publishers of books and periodicals, publishing and bookselling entities, manufacturers and distributors of electronic books, software, audio and video products, as well as NGOs, literary agencies, cultural centers and foundations. The participating countries included Australia, Austria, the UK, Georgia, Latvia, Macedonia, Norway, South Africa, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, the USA, Ukraine, Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Sweden. The main guest of the festival was the Booker Prize recipient DBC Pierre (UK), as the first Ukrainian translation of his novel Lights Out in Wonderland was presented at the literary festival. Famous attendees included also Adam Zagajewski (Poland), Martin Pollack (Austria), Henryk Grynberg (Poland-USA), Arsenii Roginsky and Valerii Panyushkin (Russia), and Valerii Shevchuk (Ukraine).
The Best Book contest received 407 applications, and as many as 378 books of 84 publishers were submitted to the jury. It was unable to determine the Grand Prix winner, since all 24 books that had been proposed for the award received almost identical numbers of points. The jury awarded 18 books with special diplomas. They were published in Kyiv, Lviv and Kharkiv and included academic publications as well as fairy tales. The full list of recognized books can be viewed online at bookforum.ua website. The Day’s 15-volume series “Armor-Piercing Political Writing” was presented at the forum and received a special prize, too. The Best Book jury chairperson, Vice Rector of the Lviv Polytechnic National University Bohdan Morklianyk called The Day’s “Armor-Piercing Political Writing” a concise guide to action: “What should we do in the current political, social and cultural situation, since the time has changed names, but not the problems outstanding.” Our readers will find extended coverage of the launch of “Armor-Piercing Political Writing” in Lviv in the upcoming issues of this newspaper.
About 50,000 Leopolitans and visitors to the city attended the Book Forum in 2011. The numbers for 2012 have not been compiled yet, since the elderly, young and school-age children as well as employees of educational and cultural institutions were admitted for free, while the rest bought tickets for 10 hryvnias. However, there can be no doubt that the Palace of Arts, the forum’s main venue, was cheery and noisy throughout the five-day event.
The Book Forum President Oleksandra Koval plans to send a formal appeal to the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych to take the 20th event, to be held in 2013 and significant as a milestone, under his patronage. She said: “In fact, the presidential patronage would be important for the forum, as it would accord it the appropriate status and help us to resolve financial issues, since our financial situation has always been unsatisfactory.”