Since 2011, the Book Arsenal Festival has been an annual project of the Mystetskyi Arsenal culture, arts and museum complex located in the historic center of Kyiv. It is the largest international book fair in the country and a major intellectual event that is usually held in the spring. With one of the largest exhibition areas in Europe, it brings together publishers, booksellers, authors, translators, critics, designers, artists, while offering visitors a vast program of events, workshops and meetings. In 2019, the Arsenal Book Fair received the Literary Festival Award from the London Book Fair.
The eleventh edition of the festival scheduled for 25 – 29 May 2022 should take place in 11 areas dedicated to the events of the main Literary program, as well as to a number of special projects aimed at book market professionals. There is a Best book design contest, a Kids&Teens program and a Music program.
In January 2022, the organizers of the Arsenal Book Fair announced its next focus theme, The Migration Period. According to the curator of the 11th edition of the festival, Oksana Forostyna, the historical allusion to the barbarian invasions and the great migrations that shaped European territories between Antiquity and the Middle Ages reflects phenomena that persist in today's world. Although contemporary migrations, in Ukraine and in other countries, seem at first glance to become more and more banal because there is “less and less violence”, she indicated on January 17, 2022, that “this lightness coexists in the same world and time with the tragedies of millions of refugees, displaced people, forced migrants, and captives. The plots remain exactly where they were thousands of years ago: in the stories of people fleeing war and enslavement, drought and famine, people who listen to the voice that tells them, “Arise, go out from this land.”
On March 19, Mystetskyi Arsenal director general Olesya Ostrovska noted: "One shudders to think how prophetic this topic has been." And on April 13 the festival team announced that the next edition of the festival would not take place in May 2022. While calling for international solidarity to support Ukraine’s resistance and its war victims, the organizers underlined the importance of cultural and editorial action which allows the voices of Ukraine to be heard. They expressed hope for a bright and peaceful future: “Now our activities are aimed at preserving the institution and the team, and therefore – at supporting the book and its audience; we are working for our victory. And after our victory, the team will return to the activities we love and are good at: we will organise and hold the 11th Book Arsenal, with its unique atmosphere of freedom of expression, discussions, meetings of authors and their readers, and warm hugs under the peaceful sky in the Old Arsenal yard.”
In order to continue their activity during the war, the teams of the Mystetskyi Arsenal, the Ukrainian Book Institute and the Ukrainian Institute launched alternative projects and initiatives for the attention of the international community. Notably, they represented Ukraine at the Bologna Children's Book Fair (March 21 - 24, 2022) through the selection of children's books and an empty “manifesto stand” calling for awareness and urgent action. The Ukrainian stand at the London Book Fair (5 - 7 April 2022) focused on non-fiction books, under the motto “Russia's war on Ukraine is not fiction but time to act”, and no publishers or authors were present.