(Image courtesy of Roger Tagholm)
The award of the 2014 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize to Ihar Lohvinau of Belarus has been widely reported bv international media and NGOs. The Prize was given in recognition of Mr Lohvinau's courageous efforts to defend freedom of expression in Belarus despite the government removing his publishing licence. It was accepted on his behalf by his daughter and co-worker, Alexandra Logvinova, during the London Book Fair.
IPA Freedom to Publish Chair, Ola Wallin, who presented the award, commented that "withdrawing Lohvinau Publishing House's licence was a political attempt to stifle a creative and courageous publisher. The Prize recognises Ihar Lohvinau's achievements in continuing to publish important work while operating in Europe's last dictatorship."
We have a new Japan Country Report, prepared by Norio Yamamoto, CEO of Chuokeizai-sha Inc. It contains updated sales figures for print and ebooks, detailing the challenges facing publishers (pricing, VAT etc) and how Japanese reading and book buying habits are changing. The report reveals that while the publishing market as a whole continues to downsize, ebooks and the educational publishing sector remain good avenues for growth.
You can access our report here.
The IPA has expressed serious concern about Apple's decision to ban the sale of a French novel because of its cover art. La Femme by Bénédicte Martin was withdrawn from Apple's online store this week because of the book's cover, which features an image of a naked woman whose lower torso is a knife blade. IPA Freedom to Publish Chairman Ola Wallin described Apple's decision as "absurd and dangerous. It's one thing to have a code of morals, another to try and impose it on the rest of the world."
You can read more details about this story here.
With reading habits shifting online and onto portable devices, a new app has launched which uses GPS technology to tell book-lovers if they're in the vicinity of classic scenes from literature. Bookspotting, developed by Publishing Scotland, Saraband Books and technology firm Spot Specific, is a good example of how publishers can exploit both mobile technology and the rise in cultural tourism.
More details here.
Ihar Lohvinau (pictured) from Belarus and the Afghan PEN Centre have been included in the short list for the 2014 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize. Lohvinau Publshing House, which has operated since 2000, recently had its licence withdrawn by the Belarus government after it printed a book containing a photo of a protester who had been assaulted by police.
The Afghan PEN Centre has played a crucial role in promoting publishing Afghanistan since 2003, printing works by male and female writers in several local languages.
You can read our profile of Ihar Lohvinau here and of the Afghan PEN Centre here. They join Ilbay Kahraman, Nguyen Vu Binh, Irina Balakhonova and Myay Hmone Lwin on the short list for the 2014 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize. The winner will be announced at the London Book Fair on April 8th.
We can reveal two more short-listed nominees for the 2014 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize: Irina Balakhonova from Russia and Myay Hmone Lwin from Myanmar.
Irina Balakhonova runs the Samokat publishing house, which since 2003 has published books for children and young adults, raising Russian readers' awareness of issues often considered sensitive or taboo. In 2013, amidst a climate of homophobia and the passing of a state law banning the promotion of homosexuality, she published "The Jester Cap" by Daria Wilke, a young-adult novel about a gay character's struggle to find acceptance.
Myay Hmone Lwin founded the Ngar Doe Sar Pay publishing house in 2003, when he was only 17 years old. Operating in a climate of military rule and strict censorship, he has fought hard to publish works of literary and cultural significance, leading to the publishing house being temporarily banned in 2012.