The Lviv BookForum, Ukraine’s largest literary festival, has opened with messages of support from President Volodymyr Zelensky and participants including Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman. The aim of the forum is to create a civic space for a free and tolerant exchange of ideas between writers and readers. The hybrid program–combining in-person and virtual live appearances–blends 40 writers and thinkers “in 15 conversations encompassing art in times of conflict, memory, gender equality, loss, corruption, imperialism, and hope,” organizers noted.

As digital partner for the first time, Hay Festival is broadcasting the conversations free online in English, Spanish and Ukrainian to a global audience, while bolstering the program with a slate of online events pairing international writers with their Ukrainian counterparts.