Fredrik Backman’s book will be published in Russia, despite the author’s disapproval


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The Russian publishing house “Sinbad” will publish “Vinnarna” (“The Winners”) by Fredrik Backman from the trilogy Björnstad “Beartown.” Russian literary critic Galina Yuzefovich reported this in her telegram-channel.


Yuzefovich mentioned that Sinbad Publishing House (Russia) “somehow pressured the rights holders,” and indicated that “The Winners” would still be published in Russian. She also expressed her delight at the prospect of “someone who had closed the door in 2022” returning to the local readership. Nevertheless, the rights holders have not confirmed any new agreements with the Russian publishers.


Shortly after the announcement of the Russian edition of Backman’s book, the publishing house #Knyholav, which publishes the author’s works in Ukraine, took to its social media pages to announce that they had officially reached out to the writer’s agents to seek clarification. Additionally, #Knyholav posted a story on its Instagram, tagging Backman and urging him not to re-enter the Russian market and to support Ukraine. 


Later, Frederick Backman himself responded by posting an appeal on Instagram. 



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A post shared by Fredrik Backman (@backmansk)

Backman’s agents confirmed this stance. The Russian publisher also mentioned that they had acquired the rights to the book earlier, “This book was published in October 2021, and we obtained the rights to it some time ago. As for new books, yes, we will have to wait.” 


The Swedish writer Fredrik Backman has not published his books in Russia since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, and he and his wife donated money to help Ukrainian refugees. In one of his Instagram posts in February 2022, he reported, “UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, is one of the organizations aiding the Ukrainian people right now. My wife and I have made an initial donation of 50,000 SEK today and are, as countless others, looking into more ways to help. If you can, please consider donating to a charity near you.”


Backman made his debut in 2012, releasing two novels simultaneously: “En man som heter Ove” (“A Man Called Ove”) and “Saker min son behöver veta om världen” (“Things My Son Needs To Know About The World”). His books have been translated and published in 25 languages. In Ukrainian, Backman’s trilogy – “Beartown”, “Us Against You”, and “The Winners” – was published by #Knyholav, which has exclusive rights to publish the author’s books in Ukraine. 


Fredric Backman was not the only author to refuse to cooperate with Russia after the outbreak of the full-scale war. Canadian mystery writer Linwood Barclay was the first to cancel new book contracts in Russia, followed by the “King of Horror” Stephen King, Joe Abercrombie, Rebecca Kwan, and others.


Margaret Atwood, Olga Tokarchuk, Frédéric Begbeder, J. K. Rowling, Yuval Noah Harari, Bernardine Evaristo, Alison Killing, Witold Szabłowsky, Elif Shafak, Rupi Kaur, and many other authors also supported Ukraine. 


Translation: Iryna Holotova

Editing: Tanya Mykhaylychenko