Photo: Ukraїner (c) 2019
Launch of Ukraїner: Ukrainian Insider at Stanfords
On 17 October the world’s biggest and best map and travel bookshop, Stanfords in Covent Garden, in partnership with the British Ukrainian Society, hosted the UK launch of the English language edition of Ukraїner: Ukrainian Insider, a 300+ page coffee table book that delves into little-known destinations in Ukraine with stunning photographs and fascinating narrative. Project Producer Ollie Shor was on hand to explain the concept behind Ukraїner and detailed how it evolved into a multimedia project including an interactive website in nine languages (http://ukrainer.net), the Ukrainian Insider book and a soon-to-be-released feature-length film.
In the summer of 2016, the original Ukraїner team of four friends set out to tour all of Ukraine’s 16 regions (minus the temporarily occupied parts of the country) in order to see, explore and finally share the unfamiliar sights and tales of the furthest reaches of Ukraine, in the first instance to inform other Ukrainians about the areas outside of which they live, and to lure foreign tourists to come and explore Ukraine in the spirit of Lonely Planet.
Their aim was to create high-quality engaging videos and articles for a website, which they endeavoured to gather during a single trip around the country, but quickly realised they would need more timeg to do the stories justice. In the end they ended up travelling for nearly three years, revisiting each region more than once while at times recording up to 60 stories a month. Ollie showed two video stories to give the audience a feel for the project, the first about a nature reserve north of the Crimean peninsula called Askania-Nova, and a second video about the Odessa region.
Ukraїner then decided to expand the project and compiled a gorgeous book containing the best 5-6 stories from each region which offer a unique insight into modern Ukrainian culture, both for those who are new to the country and for Ukrainian readers alike. The book’s Ukrainian language edition was a hit even before its release to the Ukrainian market in May 2019, with pre-sale copies sold out instantly. Ukraїner then scooped up top prizes in several categories at the BookForum Best Book Awards in Lviv, and was the best-selling book at the International Book Arsenal Festival in Kyiv.
The Ukraїner team has grown from four people to a network of over 300 volunteers located in various countries who help with all aspects of the project including translating, proofreading, editing and exploring. Later this month Ukraїner will release a feature-length film recounting a day in the life of six people living in different parts of Ukraine. It will premiere in Kyiv and will hopefully be shown in the UK in 2020.
If you want to get a copy for yourself you can head to the London branch of Stanfords, or shop online at www.stanfords.co.uk. Books can also be ordered direct from Ukraїner at https://store.ukrainer.net. You can also check out Ukraїner’s Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages where their films can be freely viewed.