On April 8, 2014, within the framework of the Annual Book Exhibition at the Book Arsenal, a discussion was held on the subject of “Writer and Citizen. Philosophy of Voice in the Time of Crisis”. The event was organized by the Forum of Publishers, a Non-Governmental Organization and Rinat Akhmetov’s Charitable Foundation “Development of Ukraine” within its “Dynamic Culture” direction.
The Development of Ukraine Foundation and the Forum of Publishers Gathered Famous Writers at the Book Arsenal
The discussion included famous Ukrainian writers such as Svetlana Povalyayeva, Larisa Denysenko, Lyubko Deresh, Anatoliy Dnistrovyy, poet, chief editor of the SHO Magazine Aleksandr Kabanov, President of the Forum of Publishers, Aleksandra Koval.
When opening the event, the Director of Rinat Akhmetov’s Foundation “Development of Ukraine” Anatoliy Zabolotnyi remarked:
“The Foundation is well aware and understands that now in our society there is a great demand for both quality literature and civic-minded writers and artists. That’s why supporting literature projects, in particular, through grants and scholarships for writers, has been and remains one of the priority fields of work for our Foundation. Over the years of i3 program’s [Idea-Impulse-Innovation] existence, dozens of the Ukrainian writers and poets received the opportunity to implement their own projects, go on art trips, and participate in the most important global literature events. “Cultural Diplomacy” helps form the image of Ukraine abroad. We are glad that in this way we can make our contribution into the development of the Ukrainian society”.
Also, president of the Forum of Publishers NGO Aleksandra Koval, while speaking of a recent presentation of Ukraine in Leipzig, noted: “It is good that events, where the Ukrainian culture is presented on the international level, receive support – this enables to extend the number of participants – “cultural diplomats”. The role of charitable organizations, and namely “Development of Ukraine Foundation”, in supporting such diplomacy is extremely important”.
Conversation of writers moderated by Anatoliy Dnistrovyy was aimed at finding an answer to the question “Does a modern intellectual or artist have to act as a speaking trumpet of the revolution? Or is their role much more deep and reserved? What is to be done in the Ukrainian situation when the civil society, the whole country, after all, is going through the process of its difficult formation, when the process of nation formation is not yet over?”
“Writers may have and do have their civic positions. If we are called to be at the barricades, we have to be there”, noted Svetlana Povalyayeva, famous for her strong civic position. According to the writer and journalist, for her participation in the very heart of events, the moment of fighting, is just as important as the ultimate goal.
Larisa Denysenko told about how her direct participation in Kiev events influenced her works, how it was reflected in her civic position as an author, and that the readers would feel in her works and columns the echoes of what she had seen, heard and made. “When all these events happened, there was one thought – I want to write about it. As a person I felt pain but as a writer I had to register it all. My obligation is to convey it to people”, said the writer.
Lyubko Deresh in the course of the discussion tried to find out how an artist can preserve his/her creative ego while having a moral obligation to “raise” his/her civic voice. He also defined the relation of an artist to the events in pragmatic and philosophic dimensions. He noted that for a writer it is important to understand the deep nature of the world and also to understand how they can share this with others so that people would be aware of themselves in the existing circumstances.
Russian speaking Ukrainian poet, chief editor of the SHO Literature Magazine Aleksandr Kabanov remarked on the influence of the existing situation on the cultural revival and emphasized the importance of preserving relations on the level of literature with Russia saying that “Our Motherland is literature. Our currency is text”.