10 months after the occupation, the book world is at war

At the heart of this strategy is Vladimir Putin’s repeated falsehood: Ukraine has no history, language or culture distinct from Russia and Russians. Historian Olesya Khromeychuk, director of the Ukrainian Institute in London, disputes this:Writers, poets, artists have become personalities who shape the national identity“.

In an interview in July 2022, the writer, poet and essayist Yuri Andrukhovich presented Ukrainian writing and tradition as a real bulwark against the aggressor:It is quite ironic that Russia’s attempt to destroy Ukrainian culture backfired…After that, continues PEN America expert Oleksandra Yakubenko, one thing is certain:Our culture and our physical survival are closely related, they go hand in hand. »

Knowledge war

The conflict has had a devastating impact on society: writers, artists and cultural actors are among the approximately 16,000 civilian casualties. Others left their professions to join the military and defend the nation under attack.

PEN Ukraine website, “People of culture carried away by the war,” recently updated on October 24, 2022, reports that 31 people have died as a result of Russian military attacks, as well as a number of cultural figures who have died in combat while defending their homeland, PEN America reports.

READ: Writer Volodymyr Vakulenko allegedly killed by Russian forces

Russia will harass, threaten, arrest, disappear, and prosecute authors, journalists, and other opponents of its occupation. As of June 2022, Moscow has arrested 162 Ukrainian journalists, activists, writers and others for political reasons. According to the Ukrainian President’s Mission to Crimea, they are being held in Crimea or illegally transferred to the Russian Federation.

READ: Ukraine: Death of Ilya Chernilevsky, ‘poet turned soldier’

Andrey Kurkov, one of the country’s best-known writers and the president of PEN Ukraine in 2018-2022, says that many colleagues took a break from writing fiction after the February 2022 occupation, preferring essays, non-fiction, diaries and journalism. On the other hand, poetry took on a more patriotic and declarative character.

Frontline editing

After artists, authors, and librarians, it is the turn of publishers to see themselves at the forefront. After the main changes in the working conditions of Ukrainian publishers during the war, “Chytomo” magazine conducted a survey among 85 structures across the country. And this, along with the role of international cooperation, to report challenges in real time.

READ: Librarians are at war in Ukraine

He is happy to see all the structures trying to continue their work despite the difficult conditions. 85.9 percent of them work normally, and 14.1 percent work partially. Within a few months, the situation changed to the positive: in April, only 39% of houses were in working condition, and 51.2% were partially functional.

Because of the occupation, companies changed not only their business forms but also their locations to go online, for example. 10.7% of them have moved to another city, 28.6% have seen a part of their team or infrastructure change.

Many offices and warehouses were damaged after the explosions. Damaged buildings are located in Hrakich, as well as in the Kyiv region, for example, in the city of Bucha. This is 18.5% of the surveyed publishers, including Korbush Publishing House, Folio, ADEF-Ukraine, Vivat, Vikhola, SUMMIT-BOOK and many others. Ranok house suffered the most.

Three major events took place in April, July and August. One person died. The warehouse, including offices, a fire hose and books, was partially damaged. Another paper warehouse was destroyed, four bookstores were bombed. This means a direct loss of about 16 million hryvnias (about 411,202 euros).Ranok says.

Resurgence of interests

Over the summer, most publishers saw a gradual increase in interest in their titles. “In the first few months, sales dropped to almost zero, but from June onwards, we see a gradual increase in sales and even a return to normal.UA Comix Publishing says.

Since the start of the war […], we have experienced two main changes: from March to June, the activity of our foreign clients was higher than that of Ukrainian clients for obvious reasons. However, since July, the Ukrainian market has become active. The lack of Russian-language books on the market also had a positive effect on our work. Readers (customers) and bookstores in Ukraine massively refuse Russian-language books, and therefore on the shelves, especially our publications, are placed in the place of Russians. The attention was noticeably focused on the publication of Ukrainian authorsThey say to the Stary Lev publishing house.

As for publishers’ income, 44.7% of them did not need to reduce the salaries of employees, 37.6% had to reduce their wages, and 8.2% could not pay them. However, in 9.4 percent of them, the salary of employees was increased. They try to adapt to new realities, save on production processes, as well as rent.

The whole team works remotely, we gave up the office because we couldn’t pay the rent. The activity is the same as before February 24, but now we are also actively working with Ukrainian projects and Ukrainian authors.The lab says.

The renewed interest in Ukrainian titles allows publishing houses to expand their influence abroad. Their simplest and most common location is the Polish market. Cooperation is also related to territorial proximity, as well as the willingness of Poles to support Ukrainians.

But publishers are not left out of the fray: they volunteer, support refugees, and some companies see their employees on the front lines of the conflict. 82.9% of them are volunteers, and 43.4% have advanced staff. Many publishing structures transfer funds to the armed forces from both book sales and publishing income. For example, Stiletto and Stylos donate 10% every month to Come Back Alive.

File:Vladimir Putin’s War on Ukraine

Photo credit: Alisdare Hickson (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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