The Second Christmas – this is how Lithuanian publishers call Vilnius Book Fair, which awaits its fans every February. Publishers around the globe rush to publish the most interesting and beautiful books by Christmas time, in time for the gift-buying fever. Vilnius Book Fair, that takes place after Christmas, is an additional opportunity to organize writers’ meetings with readers and introduce new books. Vilnius Book Fair is the biggest book fair in the Baltic States since 2000. Also, it is one of the most significant cultural events in Lithuania. Vilnius Book Fair is exclusively focused on the reader; its main accent is on books and cultural events, as well as on the possibility for authors to interact with their readers.
The cultural programme is very broad – more than 400 cultural events each year: seminars for professionals, meetings with authors, book presentations, discussions, readings, concerts, performances, films, awards, contests and events for children, etc. One of the core events for children at Vilnius book fair is the creative studio You Can Create a Book, developed in the 2003 edition by the graphic artist and book illustrator Sigutė Chlebinskaitė. Visitors are invited to participate in countless creative workshops, readings, and meetings with children’s literature authors as well as book illustrators from Lithuania and abroad. The main goal of the studio is to familiarize the kids with the development of the book from ancient times till now.
Adults may visit the Discussion Club, where prominent intellectuale froms Lithuania and abroad take the stage to discusse a broad range of issues. which adds a more intellectual content to the fair. Art, film and music fans will not feel left out either: there are exhibitions of famous Lithuanian and foreign artists (most of them coming to Lithuania for the first time). Poetry readings to jazz is a special feature of the so-called Long Friday (on Friday the fair is open till 9PM!). Visitors also have the opportunity to watch the latest movies made after well-known novels, and documentary films about writers, poets and artists. Every year, since 2008, the Vilnius Book Fair attracts more and more visitors. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to call the book fair a cultural feast at the end of the cold and unpredictable Lithuanian winter.
The 2017 edition – Lithuanian signs visible abroad
Every year the Vilnius Book Fair and its cultural programme is devoted to a special topic. The theme of the next Vilnius Book Fair will talk about those Lithuanians, who had left their motherland by force or at their own will and made the name of Lithuania famous in the world.
Vilnius Book Fair 2017 will try to find the Lithuanian signs and to read them and at the same time to see how much we have discovered, created, experienced, how much presence of Lithuania is in the world.
Vilnius Book Fair press conference
On February 14th Vilnius book fair (VBF) organizers arranged a press conference in which they discussed what‘s new this year. Lithuanian Publishers Association (LLA) representatives of VBF cultural programme workgroup Lolita Varanavičienė (publishing house Tyto alba), Gytis Vaškelis (The Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore) and Aida V. Dobkevičiūtė also participated in the conference. Aušrinė Žilinskienė (director, Lithuanian Culture Institute) presented this year’s VBF cultural programme, Agnė Masalskytė (director, Lithuanian Neighbouring Rights Association AGATA) talked about music hall events and Milda Gembickienė (director, Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Centre LITEXPO) presented participants and talked about what awaits in the fair.
Aida V. Dobkevičiūtė acknowledged that the beginning of the year brought up ambiguous moods among publishers. A lot of publishing houses are worried due to authors’ tax changes, which might reinstate publishing sector back to crisis of year 2009 from which they are still struggling to recover. During the press conference LLA representatives invited to develop further dialogue on the issue of increased taxes and its possible influence on book publishing in discussion during book fair on February 23d, 4 PM, 5.1 hall.
Aida V. Dobkevičiūtė gladly talked about successful associations’ involvement in international project Aldus, the European Book Fairs’ network, and PUBCOOP, cooperation between the Valencian Publishers Association (AEPV) from Spain, the Lithuanian Publishers Association (LLA) and the Romanian Publishers Association (AER)). Also, she emphasized that there will be plenty interesting events for specialists, which have already attracted 23 foreign guests from countries such as Latvia, Slovenia, Spain, Romania, Germany, Belgium, Ukraine, Georgia, etc. All these specialists’ events will be closed with P2P meeting. Attendees will have a possibility to develop connections with foreign publishers due to further collaboration.