German Book Trade Peace Prize: ‘Winter Aid for Ukraine’

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

As nominations open for the 2023 German Book Trade Peace Prize, the program joins in the ‘Winter Aid for Ukraine’ campaign.

In Ukraine’s Holosiivskyi National Nature Park, a protected forest on the hills at Kyiv, January 16. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Badahos

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

Deadline for Nominations: March 1

‘This is the moment,’ the campaign’s poster says, ‘to help Ukraine through its war winter’

As it announces the opening of submissions for the 2023 Peace Prize of the Germany Book Trade, the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels—Germany’s publishers and booksellers association—has chosen to use this year’s award as the logical venue for its appeal designed “to help get Ukraine through the winter.”

Winter Aid for Ukraine is a campaign backed by “70 writers and intellectuals from Germany [who]” who are making a call to for wintertime war-weary Ukraine.

“The German Book Trade Association,” the appeal says, “supports this campaign and, together with PEN Berlin and the Ukrainian authors Yuri Andruchowytsch, Yuriy Gurzhy, Tanja Maljartschuk, Natalka Sniadanko, and Peace Prize winner Serhiy Zhadan, is asking for your support and donations.”

The text of the campaign puts the case in compelling terms:

“Putin’s plan to crush Ukraine militarily and wipe it out as an independent nation failed because of the determined resistance supported by all of Ukrainian society. Now the country is to be brought to its knees by the destruction of its vital supply structures – especially the energy system. The methods of a war of annihilation against the civilian population tested in Chechnya and Syria, executed in Grozny and Aleppo as examples, are now being applied to free Ukraine as a whole. The bombing of residential areas, the targeted destruction of the living conditions of millions of people, the murder of civilians, the rape and deportations already violate the United Nations Genocide Convention.

“Now it’s winter. We have long seen and heard what it means when heating, lights and electrical appliances fail, there is no drinking water left, windows cannot be replaced, when cities sink into darkness, schools and kindergartens have to close, hospitals no longer treat their patients can and companies have to stop their work. Since the start of the new Russian attack, more than 14 million people have had to leave their homes, and millions more are to be forced to flee.

“If Putin succeeded in driving Ukraine into collapse, the European security order, the European Union and the transatlantic alliance would also falter. Then no country in the former sphere of influence of the Soviet Union will be safe, the anti-democratic forces will gain momentum and international law will be in ruins.

“For this reason, supporting Ukraine’s civilian and military resilience is not just a moral duty. Rather, it is in our own interest.”

More on this effort, as explicated at the Peace Prize site, can be found here.

At this writing, the confirmed death toll in the Kremlin’s assault on an apartment complex in Ukraine‘s city of Dnipro has risen to at least 41.

Megan Specia reports for The New York Times that this particularly disturbing Russian attack on civilians, according to Ukrainian officials, was made using “a Kh-22, a long-range Russian anti-ship missile, that had not been intercepted, and that the evidence from the scene pointed to a direct strike on the building.”

Emergency services say that 25 people are reported still missing, even as international leaders meeting at World Economic Forum sessions in Davos are warned by Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska that the allies’ assistance must be accelerated. A Davos address from Volodymyr Zelensky is expected Wednesday.

The Call for Submissions

As Publishing Perspectives readers will remember, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade is a €25,000 award (US$27,099) honoring “a personality who has made an outstanding contribution to the realization of the idea of ​​peace, primarily through his or her work in the fields of literature, science or art.”

It was awarded to Zhadan, the Ukrainian writer and musician, in 2022, and details on the nominating process are here, a page that includes a form for nomination, both online and for download as a PDF.

The board of the prize’s foundation is to select the award winner during the spring, and a decision is to be announced in June.

As is the tradition, the award ceremony will take place at the end of this year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 18 to 22), at Frankfurt’s Paulskirche.


More from Publishing Perspectives on the impact on publishing of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine is here, more on the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade is here, more on the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels is here, and more on international book and publishing awards programs 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.com, 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.