Books supported by the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter were on full display at two prominent European book fairs recently. At both the London and Paris book fairs, visitors praised not only the high quality of the publications, but noted they added to a greater understanding of Ukraine as a multicultural and multiethnic country.
The books shown at the fairs included A Journey Through the Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter: From Antiquity to 1914 by UJE co-director Alti Rodal; Jews and Ukrainians: A Millennium of Co-Existence by UJE board member Paul Robert Magocsi and Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern; Babyn Yar: History and Memory, a collection of monographs by a group of internationally-renowned scholars who discuss the treatment of Babyn Yar in culture, music, and the arts from Stalinist times to our own; The Key in the Pocket, a collection of essays by three prominent Ukrainian writers who reflect on the works of Nobel-prize winning writer S.Y. Agnon and his native Buchach, located in western Ukraine; and The Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter: Cultural Dimensions, a collection of essays that examine the interaction between the Ukrainian and Jewish cultures from the seventeenth century onwards.
The UJE joined other organizations, including Ukraine’s culture ministry, the Ukrainian Book Institute and the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association, as one of the sponsors of the Ukraine country booth at both the London and Paris book fairs. The organization became part of Ukraine’s literary history when, for the first time, Ukraine unveiled a country stand at the London Book Fair, which is one of the most important literary venues globally. UJE-supported publications were prominently displayed at the inaugural booth.
Ukraine’s culture minister Yevhen Nyshchuk and Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Kingdom Natalia Galibarenko welcomed enthusiastic exhibitors and visitors during the stand’s unveiling. Jacks Thomas, director of the London Book Fair called the country “a whole new exciting book market” and spoke warmly of her recent trip to Ukraine.
The Ukraine country booth in Paris again wowed visitors, who eagerly listened to and participated in a series of presentations by Ukrainian and French authors writing on Ukraine-related themes, including Ukrainian-Jewish relations. Organizers noted interest in the latter in France is growing. Indeed the Ukraine booth hosted presentations on two new French-language books devoted to Ukrainian-Jewish interactions.
For more from the book fairs in London and Paris, see our photos below.
Ukrainians and Jews have lived as neighbours for centuries, creating and sharing enduring cultures that continue to inform their identities today. Ukrainian Jewish Encounter (UJE) is proud to present Part 1 of an integrated narrative of these two peoples in the belief that there is much to be gained by viewing their historical experience together, in all its complexity.
As Ukraine defends its very existence against Russia, the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter Timeline serves to counter the malicious and false narratives about Ukraine and its history. The Timeline demonstrates that Ukraine is home to diverse peoples and, for centuries, one of the world’s oldest and largest Jewish communities.
The 'Encounter' prize aims to build on the common experiences of Ukrainians and Jews over the centuries, expressed in literature and nonfiction. The Prize will be awarded annually to the most influential work in literature and nonfiction (in alternate years) that fosters Ukrainian-Jewish understanding, helping solidify Ukraine's place as a multi-ethnic society and giving truth to the motto, "Our stories are incomplete without each other."
The goal of the richly illustrated catalogue is to present an integrated narrative that looks at the experience of these two peoples together, in all its complexity — through periods of crisis, as well as long stretches of normal co-existence and multifaceted cultural interaction from antiquity to 1914.