By Olga Shvaikova
The participation of Belarusian book publishers in the February book forum in Vilnius is already a tradition. The national stand of Belarus always enjoys great popularity among Lithuanian book lovers. This year, the country presented around 1,000 editions at the event, opened by the President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite.
The Director of the Petrus Brovka Belarusian Encyclopaedia Publishing House, Tatiana Belova, presented the President of Lithuania with two books: Belarusians Abroad (a scientific-popular edition containing unique historical material) and History of the Belarusian Book.
The Belarusian stand hosted several presentations of unique editions, including a 522 page folio entitled Radziwills. Album of Portraits. 18th-19th Century, released by the Petrus Brovka Belarusian Encyclopaedia Publishing House. Only 2,000 copies have been released, each containing the genealogy of the Radziwill family. It details biographies and shows portraits (reproductions of engravings and drawings) of 165 members of the magnate family, including 104 women. The biographies include information on parents, children, wives, dates and places of birth, christening and death, in addition to data about their creative activities.
A gift edition of Vladimir Korotkevich’s Wild Hunt of King Stakh was presented, released on the eve of the 80th anniversary of the birth of the Belarusian writer. Boasting unique illustrations, it is now published in Belarusian, Russian, Ukrainian and English.
Belarus also presented children’s books by Lithuanian writer Jeronimas Laucius — the first Lithuanian writer to be adopted into the Belarusian Union of Writers. “This forum focuses on literature which details our shared lives: history, economy and humanitarian collaboration. This arouses sincere interest among Lithuanian readers and, undoubtedly, promotes ties between our two nations. Such co-operation helps us solve many economic and political issues,” stressed the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Lithuania, H.E. Mr. Vladimir Drazhin.
Visitors to the Belarusian stand were offered a diverse cultural programme, including various presentations and performances by artistic bands. After the exhibition, some editions are to be donated to the Frantsisk Skorina Belarusian school.
In fact, this year will be especially rich in book publishing events. We recently hosted the largest book forum: Minsk’s International Book Fair. The St. Petersburg International Book Salon and the International Salon of Books for Children and Youth in Chisinau are next in line. In May, domestic book publishers will attend the 56th Warsaw International Book Fair as an honorary guest and, in August, we’ll head for Kiev’s International Book Fair. Autumn will be no less active, with Belarus taking part in international book fairs in Moscow, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Frankfurt.
Belarusian book publishers also traditionally participate in national expositions of Belarus abroad. The 8th CIS International Art of Book Contest, and the Art of Book competition, organised during the Leipzig International Book Fair, are other key events coming up soon.