President Zelenskyy addresses the book world at the Frankfurt Book Fair

Video and press release

At the joint invitation of the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Federation of European Publishers, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the book community on Thursday, 20 October at 12.30. His speech was followed by interventions by Jesús Badenes del Río, CEO of Publishing Division Grupo Planeta (Spain), representing the Guest of Honour, and Oleksander Afonin, President of the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association. The event was open to the public and took place in Room Harmonie, Congress Centre.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, said, “knowledge is the answer. The answer to those who are scared, to those who manipulate and to those who don’t believe. Books, documentary scripts, articles, reports - these are the answers. I invite all of you to Ukraine: publishers, authors, business people and public figures, educators and journalists. Everyone. Take a look at what our people are going through. What we have managed to gain. What are the threats we are still facing. Witness it and tell about it.”

The full video of President Zelenskyy’s speech is available on the YouTube channel of the Frankfurt Book Fair.

It goes without saying that all participants to the Fair are convinced that books are key to a better world, and this is also true for Ukraine. Today and tomorrow, all book professionals in Ukraine must be in a capacity to resume their activities and to promote their culture, to their citizens and to the world. For Ukrainian literature to be present at the Frankfurt Book Fair with a large stand and many publishers present, is also an act of resistance and it is the duty of the book world to support their efforts to preserve and promote their books. European publishers and publishers from all over the world have already shown support but this is only the beginning, and we need to involve the States too.

Peter Kraus vom Cleff said, “with FEP and with the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, since the start of the invasion, we have reached to our Ukrainian counterparts and offered support. What Ukraine is doing now, is standing for our rights and our values. The whole book community must continue its mobilisation so that publishing in Ukraine can remain vivid. I thank President Zelensky to have chosen Frankfurt for his intervention and invite all colleagues to join us”.

Juergen Boos said, “The Frankfurt Book Fair has maintained close relations with publishers, authors and industry-related institutions in Ukraine for many years and has carried out numerous trade fair participations, publishers’ training courses and specialist programmes in recent years. This year, it is very important to us to enable and support the networking of Ukrainian colleagues with their partners worldwide and to let many Ukrainian intellectuals, publishers, authors and cultural workers have their say at the Frankfurt Book Fair to report on the current situation. We want to create
publicity and raise awareness of what is at stake.

Due to a last-minute commitment, the European Commissioner for Culture Mariya Gabriel had to cancel her participation. Mrs Gabriel has, since the beginning, been actively involved in developing support for Ukraine through networking and special calls. FEP will share the interventions with the Commissioner and ensure that the European Commission continues to support Ukraine including the book sector.