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Tales of EUkraine at the Frankfurt Book Fair: a recap

We are back from the Frankfurt Book Fair after a series of events that marked one year of progress for Tales of EUkraine. The Tales of EUkraine consortium touched base on the project’s developments and forthcoming steps, presented the project’s activities to the fairgoers, and most importantly, distributed TEUk books to children from Ukraine and Germany on two different occasions as the first 6 Ukrainian-German titles left the printing houses right before the Fair, for a total of 30.000 books!

The titles published before the fair are: The Tooth Fairy´s Tale (Publishing House RM), In search of the winter sleep (Publishing Mushlya LLC), Skovoroda. Fables (Publishing House Vivat), Battle for the City (Publishing House Artbooks), The Owl Who Wanted To Become a Lark (Publishing House The Black Sheep), and  My Home (Publishing House Ranok).

On Wednesday 18th October, at 9:00 the doors opened at Struwwelpeter Museum for an event with Ukrainian and German children. Arnaud Pasquali (from DG EAC) spoke warm words of welcome and Olena Odynoka from the Ukrainian Book Institute read “The Owl Who Wanted to Become a Lark” in Ukrainian to the children, while Beate Zekorn, director of the museum, read the same text in German. Andrea Foelster moderated the interactive event. Over 80 children from three different schools in Frankfurt were present at the event. After the reading event, around 130 books have been distributed to the children and their schools.

On Thursday 19th October, on the fair’s Aldus Up Stage, representatives from European Institutions, members of Tales of EUkraine’s consortium, and publishers involved in the project joined together to talk about TEUk for the panel Tales of EUkraine - Solidarity in the publishing sector. The panellists discussed how Europe is supporting Ukraine, its people, and its culture, and how Tales of EUkraine fits within these initiatives. Panellists included representatives of European Institutions, members of the TEUk consortium, and publishers from both Ukraine and Germany active in the project.

The event was moderated by Enrico Turrin, Deputy Director of the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), the organization coordinating Tales of EUkraine. Mr Turrin highlighted once more how solidarity is at the core of the project, and that Tales of EUkraine is a way for publishers to show their solidarity by doing what they do best, which is publishing books.

From the European Commission, DG EAC Director for Culture, Creativity and Sport Georg Häusler and EACEA Project Officer Natasa Asik covered the initiatives that the Commission has developed to support the cultural and creative sectors of both Europe and Ukraine. Ms. Asik focused especially on initiatives and programmes dedicated to the book and translation sectors, also highlighting initiatives in support of Ukraine and its publishers, writers, and translators.

Publishers André Störr of Friedrich Mauke Verlag, from Germany, and Kateryna Ilchuk of Vivat, from Ukraine, gave their testimonies on their participation in TEUk, and highlighted the need for a similar project, bringing immediate support to Ukrainians while also fostering potential long-term collaborations. Mr Störr suggested in fact that the publishers in the audience should get interested in Ukrainian literature, because Ukraine is a great country with a very well developed publishing industry, and publishers should use Teuk as a first contact to get to know the country’s literature.

Daniela Kollarova, from Dajama, and ZVKS, one of the partners behind TEUk, highlighted that everybody should participate in TEUk. As the war is still going on, we should publish books to bring joy to children impacted by it.

Afterwards, on Friday 20th October, another reading with both Ukrainian and German children took place at the Zentrale Kinder- und Jugenbibliothek – Stadtbücherei (Central city youth and children library). This time, over 40 children attended. They were greeted by André Störr (from Friedrich Mauke Verlag) and Savino Damian (from Slavicum). Once again,  70 TEUk books were distributed to the children.

(Picture: some of the books presented at the Reading event of 18th October)