By Victor Andreev
The festival is unusual in taking place during the Year of Book and in coinciding with the 130th anniversary of the births of Yanka Kupala and Yakub Kolas, and the 100th anniversary of Maxim Tank’s birth.
The First Deputy Information Minister, Lilia Ananich, emphasises, “We publish a lot of socially important literature, especially in the Belarusian language. According to surveys conducted in libraries, all these books are popular, with particular demand for modern authors. Books don’t sit long on shelves. The Krasnaya Zvezda Paper Mill has the latest equipment to print more books in Braille — for those who are sight-impaired. It already produces many such books and our partners are keen to collaborate in this sphere. Moreover, at international trade fairs, several of our projects have received top awards, including editions by the Belarusian Encyclopaedia Publishing House (named after Petrus Brovka): Dmitry Strukov’s sketches of 19th century Belarusian attractions; and Live Vetka — a photo album of Russian Old Believers’ relics, from Gomel.”
Especially for the Day of Belarusian Written Language, the Litaratura and Mastatstva (Literature and Art) Publishing House launched an unusual book, called Mother’s Fairytale, at the initiative of the Ministry of Information and the Belarusian Women’s Union, with UNICEF support. It is a compilation of the best Belarusian and Russian works and copies have been donated to Radoshkovichi boarding school for orphaned children. At its presentation there, Kupala Theatre actress Maria Zakharevich read a parable from the edition. Ms. Ananich advises every family to buy a copy of the colourful book, saying, “I’ve read its stories to my grandson; we spent a lovely cosy evening with it.”
About one hundred writers presented their works in Glubokoe. Writer Ales Karlyukevich, editor of Zvyazda newspaper, tells us that the international ‘round table’, held on September 1st was very popular.
He notes, “Its name spoke for itself: Writer. Book. Time. Poets, writers, playwrights and journalists from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Serbia, Montenegro and Turkmenistan were invited to take part. There were surprises for some guests, as books from their countries had been translated into Belarusian.”
Certainly, there was something for everyone at the festival, whose exhibition covered 200 square metres, with leading national publishing houses and media editions represented.