Publishing Responds to Russia’s Attack on Ukraine
By Megan Whitlock
The Federation of European Publishers, the International Publishers Association (IPA), 400 library leaders and many more figures in the literary community have spoken out in support and solidarity with Ukraine amidst Russia’s ongoing invasion.
On 24 February, Oleksandr Afonin, President of the Ukrainian Association of Publishers and Booksellers, wrote an open letter to the International Publishers Association requesting backing from the global publishing community to “step in and take direct actions” against Russia; the full contents of which can be found here. In response, José Borghino, general secretary of the IPA, issued a response condemning the Russian invasion and containing the following statement from the IPA President, Bodour Al Quasimi, stating:
“The IPA stands in solidarity with publishers in peril all around the world and, especially at this moment, with our member in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association. We are following developments and discussing how IPA can be of most assistance to our member. In times of peace, books have a powerful uniting force. In times of conflict, books are even more important in fostering hope, supporting reconciliation, and cementing peace.”
Similarly, the organisers of the eleventh Book Arsenal Festival in Kyiv have requested that people share stories of successful cooperation with Ukraine and not lose sight of the “essential progress” in arts, literature, cultural diplomacy and sharing and promoting European values made in recent years.
Chief Executive of Libraries Connected, Isobel Hunter, Director for Libraries at Arts Council England, Sue Williamson and the Reading Agency CEO, Karen Napier, are amongst the names of 400 library-affiliated signatories in a letter of support responding to an address from the Ukrainian Library Association. The full address can be read here, but in summary, it stresses the importance of libraries as pillars of freedom for communities and as at “the forefront of the fight against fakes, misinformation and cyber threats.” They also call upon libraries globally to combat disinformation.
The Federation of European Publishers have released the following statement:
"Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and of the region, and especially with our colleagues; authors, translators, publishers, booksellers, and librarians. Keep writing, translating, publishing, and giving access to books. Even if they are a fragile rampart against the bombs, books and reading are essential to democracy” (sourced from The Bookseller).
For more information on how you can help, organisations such as the Publishers Without Borders Facebook page are posting regular updates.