Belarusian Nobel laureate not invited to country’s largest book fair

The organizers of Minsk International Book Fair do not seem to have planned any special event in honor of Nobel prize winner Svetlana Alexievich who is known for her critical attitude to president Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Read also: Alexievich speaks Belarusian at Nobel Prize ceremony

In 2016, the fair will be dedicated to several key dates, i.e the quincentenary of the Belarusian printing, the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, the 25th anniversary of the Community of Independent States, and to the previously declared Year of Culture, Belarusian information minister Liliya Ananich said.

Interestingly, both Voices From Chernobyl and Second-hand Time, for which Alexievich received the Nobel Prize in Literature, are the perfect choice for the book fair, since the former fits for the Chernobyl theme and the latter raises issues of the collapse of the USSR and the creation of the CIS. But still, the organizers failed to invite the Nobel Prize winner to meetings which will take place as part of the event.

When asked about Alexievich’s presence at the book fair, the information minister found an excuse saying that it is the Russian publishing house ‘Vremya’ that holds rights to books by Alexievich. The house is going to present her works at their stand, the official added.

The XXIIIth Minsk International Book Fair is to be held on February, 10-14.


Svetlana Alexievich is a Soviet and Belarusian investigative journalist and prose writer. Her most notable works are War’s Unwomanly Face (monologues of women in the war speaking about the aspects of the Second World War which were hardly mentiond before), Zinky Boys (first-hand accounts from the war in Afghanistan).

After persecution by Lukashenka regime, she left Belarus in 2000. The International Cities of Refuge Network offered her sanctuary and during the following decade she lived in Paris, Berlin and Gothenburg. In 2011 Alexievich moved back to Minsk.

In 2013, after receiving the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade Union the writer said that the Belarusian government ‘took no notice of her’.

Read also: State-run TV turns blind eye to Alexievich while Belsat shows all – Belarus Nobel laureate’s countrymen

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