Volodymyr Vakulenko posthumously received a Special Award at the IPA Prix Voltaire 2023


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The International Publishers Association (IPA) has announced the winners of the 2023 Prix Voltaire. This was reported on the IPA website.


The Iraqi publisher Mazin Lateef Ali became a laureate. He founded the Dar Mesopotamia publishing house and published a number of books, including several centered around the Jewish communities and individuals of Iraq. On January 31, 2020, he was abducted at gunpoint and has not been heard from since.


Ukrainian writer Volodymyr Vakulenko has become a Special Award laureate of the IPA Prix Voltaire Award 2023. On March 24, Volodymyr Vakulenko was kidnapped by Russian occupiers in the village of Kapytolivka near Izyum in the Kharkiv region. Later it became known that he had been killed.



“Silencing cultural expression is one of the tools of repressive regimes. We must resist their intimidation and celebrate our brave authors and publishers who help us experience and understand the diversity of our cultures. Mazin Lateef Ali and Volodymr Vakulenko are heroes,” said Gvantsa Jobava, Vice President of the International Publishers Association.



“I am a Ukrainian writer speaking on behalf of my colleague Volodymyr Vakulenko who, unlike me, didn’t survive another attempt of the Russian Empire to erase Ukrainian identity. The Ukrainian literary community is grateful for the award. This award is unique, meaningful, and moving to us, partly because no one out of hundreds of other Ukrainian writers who, like Vakulenko, were murdered throughout Ukrainian history ever received such an international award posthumously. I am sure that Volodymyr Vakulenko would like to dedicate this award to them too,” added Victoria Amelina, Ukrainian writer and war crimes researcher, who accepted the award on behalf of Volodymyr Vakulenko during the award ceremony in Lillehammer.



The Prix Voltaire annually recognizes outstanding achievements of publishers around the world in the fight for freedom of expression. Anyone can be nominated for the prize: an individual, an initiative group or an organization. The prize is 10,000 Swiss francs.


In 2022, the prize was awarded to the Thai publishing house Same Sky. At the same time, the Ukrainian Association of Publishers was shortlisted for the award.


Photo: Mariia Lysytska-Beskorsa