Communal Bridge over Yenisei in Krasnoyarsk.Lori/Legion-Media
The venue, the Siberia Exhibition Center in Krasnoyarsk, some 2500 miles (4150 km) east of Moscow, was packed on Nov. 2, the opening day. The visitors were eager, mentioning publishing houses they remembered from last year and snapping up their stock of reading material for the year ahead.
“I like KRYAKK very much,” says literary critic Galina Yuzefovich. “It is compact but very well planned. Publishing houses that you cannot see anywhere else attend, and you can meet people who do not always come to Moscow. I personally rank this as Russia’s second book fair in terms of its significance and quality – after the Moscow Non/Fiction Fair.”
Galina Yuzefovich holding a lecture at KRYAKK. Source: Press photo
KRYAKK-2016 was devoted to the question of how modernity and tradition interact. It offered an opportunity to consider how the past influences modern literature, and how the language of modernity derives its origins from the classics. The music and the theater sections of the book fair also investigated this topic.
Every year, the Krasnoyarsk Book Fair welcomes Mikhail Pletnev’s Russian National Orchestra. According to Irina Prokhorova, the orchestra expands listeners’ ideas of both the classics and modernity: “What Mikhail Pletnev does is close to the theme of the fair. He introduces the audience to underappreciated world and Russian music, often performing works that have never previously been performed in Russia.”
Mikhail Pletnev's Russian National Orchestra. Source: Press photo
The theater program was curated by director Konstantin Bogomolov, who staged “Gargantua and Pantagruel” – based on Rabelais’ pentalogy of the same name – in conjunction with the Theater of Nations. “It is very scary and exciting because this production is highly complex and did not have a straightforward initial reception in Moscow,” the director admitted. His fears proved to be unfounded: the audience in Krasnoyarsk greeted the production with a standing ovation.
Pictured L-R: Director Konstantin Bogomolov, publisher Irina Prokhorova, literary critic Anna Narinskaya at KRYAKK. Source: Press photo
The main program of the book fair offered numerous seminars with authors. The session with Guzel Yakhina, the author of the novel Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes, the main book of 2015, attracted so many visitors that the organizers had to urgently find extra chairs. “Krasnoyarsk features briefly in the novel and, judging by the audience’s reaction, many of them read it with their grandparents in mind,” the author said afterwards. “This was echoed by people who came to book signing. That means a great deal to me.” Yakhina’s novel is currently being translated into English and many European languages.
Everyone RBTH spoke to agreed that KRYAKK is a significant cultural event for the entire country, not just Siberia. Literary critic Anna Narinskaya points out that KRYAKK is particularly good at bringing authors and publishers into contact with readers. “For me the main thing here is interaction, rather than interactivity. Here, there is a drive for meeting people, talking to them.”
Children's program at KRYAKK. Source: Press photo
Interestingly, Prokhorova notes that the initiative to participate in the fair often comes from abroad, rather than Russia. “Many artistic and literary figures and cultural centers are eager to attend. Despite all the negativity on a political level, our country still retains its image as a cultured nation, and it is good to support and promote this – because this is what gives a country its place in the global community, not military might.”
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