- missing Hong Kong/Swedish publisher Gui Minhai selected for award that supports defenders of freedom to publish.
- Award to be presented at International Publishers Congress in New Delhi on 12 February
Also nominated for the 2017 IPA Prix Voltaire, Gui Minhai worked as a Hong Kong-based publisher and bookseller who specialized in producing fast-moving political potboilers that were critical of the Chinese leadership through his Mighty Current publishing house and Causeway Bay Bookstore. He was kidnapped by Chinese agents from his holiday home in Thailand in October 2015, resurfaced in Chinese custody several months later, and, following a period of doubt over his whereabouts, was reportedly snatched from a train in January.
Gui Minhai has contributed to the free circulation of ideas, participating in human rights conferences and sitting on the board of Independent Chinese PEN. His treatment at the hands of the Chinese authorities has had a chilling effect on Hong Kong’s once vibrant and audacious publishing industry.
The IPA Freedom to Publish Committee’s decision to award the 2018 IPA Prix Voltaire to Gui Minhai honours his bravery in continuing to publish despite the risks involved.
The presentation of the 2018 IPA Prix Voltaire will take place at the Gala dinner at the International Publishers Congress in New Delhi on 12th February 2018.
Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee added: “The plight of Gui Minhai is an example of the risks some publishers face to bring diverse authors’ voices to the public. It is only right that the publishing community commends him for his bravery, when that bravery has seen him deprived of his freedom.”
José Borghino, IPA Secretary General said: “In those places where freedom of speech is repressed, intimidation leads to self-censorship. The situation is critical in many places and it is vital that we support publishers who have the courage to help authors reach an audience under such conditions.”
About the IPA Prix Voltaire
The IPA Prix Voltaire is unique in honouring the freedom to publish, without which many forms of freedom of expression would be impossible. Publishers who provide authors with the tools to disseminate their ideas assume the same risks as the writers themselves.
The IPA Freedom to Publish Committee (FtPC) is responsible for picking the final recipient of the Prix Voltaire and is made up of nine publishing industry professionals from Argentina, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
Nominees have usually published controversial works amid pressure, threats, intimidation or harassment, be it from governments, other authorities or private interests. Alternatively, they may be publishers with a distinguished record of upholding the values of freedom to publish and freedom of expression. For the purposes of the IPA Prix Voltaire, the definition of ‘publisher’ is an individual, collective or organization that provides others with the means to share their ideas in written form, including via digital platforms.
The IPA Prix Voltaire, which comes with a CHF10,000 prize, is made possible by generous contributions from sponsors, all of which are publishing houses and organizations that share the values that the IPA Prix Voltaire recognizes.
You can read more about the full 2018 IPA Prix Voltaire shortlist nominees here.
In 2018, the sponsors of the IPA Prix Voltaire are, in alphabetical order:
- Albert Bonniers Förlag (Sweden)
- Aschehoug (Norway)
- Bonnier Media Deutschland (Germany)
- Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (Germany)
- Cappelen Damm (Norway)
- Gyldendal (Norway)
- Holtzbrinck Publishing Group (Germany)
- Natur & Kultur (Sweden)
- Norstedts (Sweden)
- Verlagsgruppe Random House (Germany)
- Storytel (Sweden)