European Publishers Welcome the Ukrainian Association as Special Guest

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

As the Federation of European Publishers reaches out to Ukrainian publishers, the European Writers’ Council intensifies its appeal.

Image – Getty iStockphoto: PhotoSaint

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Support Them as Much as Possible’
In the 12th day of Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war on Ukraine (March 7), we have news of the Federation of European Publishers reaching out to Ukrainian publishers with an invitation to be a “special guest” of the federation. This, as concern in many parts of the world book publishing industry intensifies over what many analysts now are calling Putin’s war crimes—and the situation for the Ukrainian book industry, which of course has ground to a halt.

Image: Federation of European Publishers

“Since the very first days of the conflict,” reads the federation’s announcement of Friday (March 4), “the Federation of European Publishers has voiced its condemnation of the Russian war against one of our European neighbors: Ukraine.

“Today the federation’s president, Peter Kraus vom Cleff, has written to Oleksandr Afonin, president of the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association, inviting the Ukrainian association to be a special guest of FEP. Ukrainian publishers are European publishers and FEP wants to show its full solidarity to colleagues in Ukraine.”

Peter Kraus vom Cleff

In an accompanying quote, Kraus vom Cleff says, “This attack is a war on Ukraine and it is a war on Europe.”

Although it may seem a small matter, he says, “when one sees the bombs killing brave Ukrainians, European publishers want to support their fellow colleagues in inviting them to be special guest of our joint federation.

“The Federation of European Publishers will liaise with the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association to support them as much as possible with concrete actions,” and will be inviting the Ukrainian publishers to its upcoming meetings.”

This follows the federation’s original statement, issued on February 24, which was a part of our initial coverage of the international industry’s reactions to the violence.

(You can access all of Publishing Perspectives’ coverage of Putin’s war on Ukraine and its impact and effects on the publishing industry and book people here.)

Ricardo Franco Levi l

As you’ll recall, Ricardo Franco Levi is vice-president of the Federation of European Publishers as well as president of the Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori, AIE).

In a statement of support for Kraus vom Cleff’s announcement and the federation’s gesture of welcome to Ukrainian publishers, Levi’s offices have issued a statement, reading, “The Italian Publishers Association supports the decision of the federation to open its doors as a special guest to the Association of Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers. The president of FEP Peter Kraus vom Cleff has written to his colleague and president of the Ukrainian association, Oleksandr Afonin, communicating the decision and expressing his solidarity with his colleagues.

“AIE,” Levi said, “which has expressed its support of the Ukrainian people and their publishers since the first day of the invasion, takes an active interest in the proposal to open the doors to the Ukrainian publishers.

“With this decision,” Levi says, “we want to give concrete support to our colleagues, but also to underline how the invasion of Ukraine is a question that challenges and affects all Europeans.”

Image: European Writers’ Council

The European Writers’ Council was one of the first publishing-related organizations to condemn Russia’s aggression, which shows signs only worsening.

Nina George

Today, the 30-country, 32-language, 160,000-member organization led by is president, Nina George of the Writers’ Union of Germany, has issued an accounting of 48 chairs and presidents of the various national, regional, and industry-based associations that work in its far-flung sphere.

The statement is timely for colleagues in Ukraine, some of whom are finding it increasingly difficult to communicate as Putin’s forces intensify their assault.

As CNN’s Matthew Chance reports for NewDay this morning, Russian military action in the town of Bilo Tserkva reflects an apparent bid by the Kremlin to increase its forces to the south of Kyiv, as it encircles the capital. BBC News’ live updates stress that a newly announced Russian plan for a temporary ceasefire in Ukraine allowing civilians access to certain humanitarian corridors has been criticized, the United Kingdom calling it “cynical beyond belief” and Ukraine branding it “immoral”–this after the Russians have broken cease-fire agreements and attacked civilian evacuation routes.

The morning’s Associated Press summary sees 1.7 million Ukrainians made refugees as 20,000 people from 52 countries outside Ukraine reportedly have volunteered to go in and fight the Russian onslaught.

At the Writers’ Council, the effort is an elaboration of its earlier statement, this time surfacing each of the organizations that stand behind its condemnation of the attack. The operative position: “We condemn Putin’s crimes against democracy and humanity. Our solidarity is with our colleagues in Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.”

What follows is a list of the top leadership in 48 European writers’ and international translators’ organizations, the aggregate representing some 150,000 people from 25 nations.

  • Sophie Aslanides, President of ATLF – Association des Traducteurs Littéraires de France, France
  • Ana Badurina, President, Croatian Literary Translators’ Association DHKP, Croatia
  • Vanessa Bertran, President, UPAD – Union Professionnelle des Auteurs de Doublage (Dubbing Writers), France
  • Jitka Bret Srbová, Chair, The  Czech Writers’ Association, Czech Republic
  • Nicolas Couchepin, President of the Swiss writers’ and translators’ association A*dS Autrices et auteurs de Suisse
  • Jacek Dehnel, Chair, Unia Literacka, Literary Union, Poland
  • Kevin Doyle, Chairperson, The Irish Writers’ Union, Republic of Ireland
  • Lena Falkenhagen, Chair Woman, Verband deutscher Schriftstellerinnen und Schriftsteller / German Writers’ Association, Germany
  • Dr. George Farrugia, President of the Academy of Maltese (Akkademja tal-Malti), Malta
  • Zoran Ferić, President, The Croatian Writers’ Society, Croatia
  • Bogdan Ghiu, President, Romanian Association of Literary Translators, Romania
  • Anne Sofie Hammer, Vice Chair, The Danish Authors’ Society
  • Eystein Hanssen, Chair, Norwegian Society of Authors – Forfatterforbundet, Norway
  • Christophe Hardy, Président, La Société des Gens de Lettres, France
  • Joanne Harris, Chair of the Management Committee, The Society of Authors, United Kingdom
  • Marieke Heimburger, Chairwoman, Verband deutschsprachiger Übersetzer/innen literarischer und wissenschaftlicher Werke e. V. / German Literary Translators’ Association
  • Sirpa Kähkönen, President, Finnish Writers Union, Finland
  • Tobias Kiwitt, Chair, Union of Young Authors, Germany
  • Per Kornhall, Chair, The Swedish Association of  Educational Writers, Sweden
  • Jens J. Kramer, Chair, The German Language Crime Writers – Syndikat, Germany-Austria-Switzerland
  • Zlatko Krilić, President, The Croatian Writers’ Organisation, Croatia
  • Heidi Marie Kriznik, President, The Norwegian Authors’ Union, Norway
  • José Jorge Letria, President of the Board and CEO, Portuguese Society of Authors, Portugal
  • Nicolae Manolescu – President, Writers’ Union of Romania
  • Dušan Merc, President of the Slovene Writers’ Association, Slovenia
  • Bel Olid, President, AELC (Associació d’escriptors en llengua catalana)
  • Tanja Petrič, President, Društvo slovenskih književnih prevajalcev (Slovenian Association of Literary Translator) (DSKP) Slovenia
  • Nicole Pfister Fetz, Secretary-General of the Swiss writers’ and translators’ association A*dS Autrices et auteurs de Suisse
  • Barbara Pogačnik, ZAMP – Society of Slovenian Authors and Rightholders, Slovenia
  • Vesselina Rayjekova, President, Bulgarian Translators’ Union, Bulgaria
  • Manuel Rico Rego, President, Spanish Writers’ Association – Asociación Colegial de Escritores de España, Spain
  • Grethe Rottböll, President, Sveriges Författarförbund, The Swedish Writers’ Union, Sweden
  • Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo, Chair, The Society of Swedish Authors in Finland
  • Marion Tauschwitz, President, Society of Women Writers, Germany
  • Timo Tossavainen, President, The Association of Finnish Nonfiction Writers, Finland
  • Tanja Tuma, President, Slovene PEN, Slovenia
  • Karl Ágúst Úlfsson, chairman of the Writers’ Union of Iceland (Rithöfundasamband Íslands)
  • Arne Vestbø, Secretary General, The Norwegian Non-fiction Writers and Translators Association, Norway
  • Eva Valvo, President, Strade – Italian Literary Translators’ Union, Italy
  • Maria Vlaar, Chair, Auteursbond / The Dutch Authors’ Association, The Netherlands

And of potential importance in the international political effort to stop Putin, the Financial Times, as this story is published, is reporting that the German government has rejected a proposed embargo on Russian oil imports, chancellor Scholz saying that he prefers steps against Putin that are “sustainable over the long term.” Erika Solomon in Berlin has that fresh report in the FT’s rolling updates.

Catch up with all our coverage of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine and its impact on the country’s publishing industry and players. 

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Ukrainian market is here. More on the freedom to publish and the freedom of expression is here. More on the Federation of European Publishers is here, more on the European Writers’ Council is here, and more on the Italian market and the work of AIE is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.