Dozens of cozy restaurants and cafes – favorite places of Kherson residents for spending free time, are currently operating in the city. These places “compete” in the range of food and drinks they offer to their customers, but only a few care not only about satisfying physical hunger of their visitors but also provide for their spiritual needs and general cultural development. In this respect, the project of the literary cafe “LiTERRA” (literary territory) is unique for the city. For the third year in a row, every last Thursday of a month welcomes its regulars.
The cafe operates at Borys Lavreniov Kherson Regional Youth Library. Its reading hall became the traditional meeting place for the literature, music, films, art, and dance fans. They get together for some interesting discussions here combined with the refined taste of black coffee. Remarkably, the public initiative became the driving force of this project. Literary cafe exists only thanks to the desire of young people to spend their free time not in night clubs and pubs, but in a circle of smart and interesting people. Therefore, library, which due to the demands of the modern world has already transformed from an ordinary building with books all covered with dust, but a true cultural center with new technologies, became a place for such gathering not by chance.
“We wanted to create a place in a library, where young people could come and discuss current topical issues over a cup of coffee and exchange ideas and experiences on cultural and music news, events, social life, or simply relax in cozy atmosphere,” said the leader of the club Yulia KOVAL. “In nearly three years of the project the range of topics for discussions greatly expanded and many new people have joined us. Today we are known not only to Kherson residents but also to people outside the region – in Lviv, Kyiv, Vinnytsia, the Crimea, and Luhansk people talk about us. This year ‘LiTERRA’ was named the best readers community based on the results of the contest organized by Kherson branch of Ukrainian Library Association.”
Every meeting at the literary cafe is themed (fantasy literature, rock music, holiday season, students’ life, etc.) and there are regular sections in “LiTERRA”: Creative Autograph, Interesting Facts about Coffee, Reading Books over a Cup of Coffee, Circle Reading, Anniversary Page, Music Surprise. Regular visitors are also attracted by the opportunity to meet interesting and extraordinary personalities in the section “Special Guest.” In three years “LiTERRA” had such renowned guests as writer, artists, and Taras Shevchenko Prize winner Anatolii Kychynsky, poet and journalist Valerii Kulyk, literary critic Yaroslav Holoborodko, photo artist Yurii Boichenko, artist Oleksandr Tepliakov, bands and soloists from Kherson Music College, local rock bands, art associations, and, of course, talented young people, who presented their art work to peers. Library hosted many interesting events: cartoon drawing, master classes in salsa, make-up, design, sonnets writing, and fortune telling. One of the recent meetings was dedicated to local history. The special guest of the night was Serhii Diachenko, expert of an international project of reforming and development of museums “New Spirit of Culture.” He spoke about the architectural treasures of our region and in what poor shape they are now due to lack of proper care. Soon, the “LiTERRA” community will try out on-line communication with famous Ukrainian writers using Skype. Currently the organizers collect suggestions for possible candidates for such video discussions over a cup of coffee.
Yulia Koval admitted that they have no shortage of plans for the future, which are often suggested by literrantsi (this is the nickname for members of “LiTERRA” community which was once aptly suggested by Vasyl Zahorodniuk, who, in fact, have not missed a single meeting in the literary cafe).
“Our active young people: members of ‘Young Prosvita,’ students of Kherson universities and schools, often suggest new topics for discussions and ideas for cultural past time in the library,” said the club leader. “In the near future we plan to have fairy-tale and musical nights, we also want to organize a ‘Night in Library’ project. We also are looking forward to meeting new friends from Dnipropetrovsk literary association ‘Prostir.’”
Natalia KUDRIAVCHENKO, head of the local “Young Prosvita,” shared her impressions from regular participation in the events organized in literary cafe with The Day.
“For me, ‘LiTERRA’ is a real place of inspiration. Only two hours per month can give a lot for self-development and education of a creative person,” said Kudriavchenko. “It’s a great stimulus for action. But the best part is the understanding of the fact that there are young people in your city who care about spiritual values, who want to join the cultural events, read good books, go to theater, attend art and photo exhibitions. Organizers of ‘LiTERRA’ combine all aspects of cultural life in Kherson (and not only) in a single format – effective communication over a cup of coffee, where everyone can both learn something new or present his work to others. In nearly three years of its existence, the literary cafe became a rather significant factor in the life of Kherson. We have a growing number of new friends and guests. This is not surprising because there is always great atmosphere of comfort, some spiritual inspiration in those meetings. Lately I haven’t been writing much but if the muse attends me it always happens after a meeting at ‘LiTERRA.’ At our meetings I receive a lot of positive energy and inspiration and want to share it with others! Sincerity, spirituality, communication, creativity in all its forms – this is what ‘LiTERRA’ means.”