Interview: Ukrainian Publisher Vivat Perseveres During Russian Invasion

Vivat is Ukraine's second largest publisher, established in 2013 following the merger of two former publishing houses. Its head office is in Kharkiv, Ukraine's largest city after Kyiv, in the northeast near the border with Russia.

Vivat currently has 3,000 books in print and, in a normal year, would release about 400 new titles covering nonfiction, fiction, children's and young adult literature. Its slogan "read, dream, act" exemplifies its mission to popularize reading and promote Ukrainian authors.

In this interview, Vivat CEO Julia Orlova talks about the company's efforts to continue operations during the Russian invasion, the increased international demand for Ukrainian books, and its authors fighting on the front lines.

When you went to bed on the night of February 23rd, did you believe Putin would attack? Had Vivat made preparations in case there was an invasion?

Julia Orlova, Vivat CEOAt four in the morning of February 24th, I was awake texting on Facebook. I posted that it seemed that half of Kharkiv must be awake, as there was already public information about a possible Russian invasion. After that I tried to sleep. Then, around five, I heard the explosions. It was such an incomparable feeling of absolute horror and panic. However, I had to pull myself together as difficult decisions had to be made for the future of the whole company.

I did not want to believe in a full-scale war until the last moment, as most Ukrainians did not. As a matter of fact, I did not believe that such a thing was possible at all in the 21st century. Vivat worked as usual until the day of the invasion. We were preparing new books, not war plans; but just the day before there had been discussions with colleagues about so-called "anxiety suitcases" as some had already packed them. But essentially all the decisions and actions made to save the business have been made after the war began.


Books Entering the Public Domain in 2022

books entering the public domain in 2022

The holidays seem to go so fast! Here we are now in 2022, and the publishers are hitting the ground running. From the vast number of books that will publish this month, we've identified 80 of particular note, 14 of which publish this week.

The New Year also sees a new batch of books enter the public domain. In the U.S. in 2022, this includes books first published in 1926, such as A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh; The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway; My Mortal Enemy by Willa Cather; Soldiers' Pay by William Faulkner; Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence; an early novel by Georgette Heyer, These Old Shades; a slew of novels from the prolific Edgar Wallace; and other works by a veritable who's who of early 20th century authors including Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ford Maddox Ford, C. S. Forester, Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabokov, Dorothy L. Sayers and H. G. Wells.


John Shors Literary Travel

John ShorsAs a book lover, the chances are that you enjoy traveling to places you've never been through the books you read, and you probably also enjoy traveling in person, which is why I am excited to update you on John Shors upcoming Literary Tours.

You probably know John from his novels, many of which have been featured on BookBrowse and are bestsellers in the US and overseas (he's been translated into nearly thirty languages). Starting with Beneath a Marble Sky, which transports readers to 17th century Hindustan and the building of the Taj Mahal, to My Midnight Sun (published in 2019 and set in modern day Nepal), John brings his settings to vivid life by drawing upon many years of travel and research.

For the past few years, John has been combining his love of writing and travel to personally lead small groups (average size is just 10 people with two guides) on tours to the parts of the world he knows intimately. Among the tours coming up are a trip to Thailand in January 2022, followed by Bhutan in April 2022, Japan in April 2022 and India in October 2022.


19 New Words for a New Decade

It's a new year--a new decade--are you still using last century's neologisms? Why not spice up your vocabulary with some new words? Or just learn what your kids are actually saying in their tweets and texts!


The First (and Last) Lines of Iconic Books

The first line of a book is a written invitation addressed to the reader. If the reader likes the invitation, they read on. If they don't like it, they close the book and read something else. Finding the best combination of words for that first line can take a while. Some authors devote months of time to develop the opening line of their book. Stephen King, for example, recently revealed that he has spent months, even years, crafting his opening sentences.


15 Grammar Rules It's Okay to Break: Infographic

You are probably familiar with the age old saying, "Rules were meant to be broken." And when it comes to grammar and the English language, people have been breaking rules long before Shakespeare wrote his first sonnet.

Part of this is because English has always been such a fluid language. Just flip through an English dictionary and you'll find words from all over the world: rendezvous from France, rickshaw from Japan, and even jazz from West Africa. And if you were to spend some time with a dictionary from a century ago, you'd find many words we use today but with substantially different meanings.

All of this happens because people break the rules. They start using new words, repurpose existing words, or find new shortcuts to say things the way they want. Maybe another word from another language describes something better than the current word for it in English, or maybe the traditional way of saying something is just too clunky or formal for the modern world. Languages change and evolve, and perhaps none more so than English itself.

But there's a danger to breaking the rules too much. Remember: language is about communication, and the tighter your grasp over the language, the more successfully you can communicate. It all comes down to one thing: You have to be aware of the rules before you can break them.


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