Ukrainian book publishing and educational systems have suffered extensive damage since the Russian invasion a year ago.
The International Publishers Association (IPA) and The Federation of European Publishers (FEP) released a statement citing some of the damages, including:
- the number of publishers operating in Ukraine has dropped from 1,053 in 2021 to 563 in 2022.
- educational publishers have been unable to print textbooks for pupils
- UNICEF reports that more than 2,600 schools have been damaged, affecting 5.3 million children
- UNESCO has verified damage to 241 cultural sites including museums and libraries
“Our Ukrainian colleagues are an inspiration to us all,” said Karine Pansa, IPA president. “Continuing to publish from remote offices and bunkers, despite power and Internet outages. All this while they handle the psychological trauma of losing colleagues and family. We stand in solidarity with our Ukrainian colleagues.”
FEP president Ricardo Franco Levi called for the support of Ukraine by the the world book publishing community.
“‘The persistence of being’—the Ukrainian slogan at the 2022 Frankfurter Buchmesse—of Ukrainians must be met by our constant support to their cause,” said Levi. “Concerning the book sector, our efforts to help them must be not just to safeguard their literary culture but to make it flourish and be read all over the world.”
The Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association requests the support of the international book publishing industry. A few ways they suggest are to:
- buy rights to Ukrainian books
- make Ukrainian books available on bookstore shelves around the world
- direct charitable support to Ukrainian libraries to rebuild their collections and buy books
- provide financial support for those who have lost loved ones, property, and more
Further requests to the European Commission and European Parliament were made by the FEP for funding to restore Ukraine’s publishing industry and educational sectors, including schools and libraries.
“The freedom to publish is being dramatically undermined in Ukraine,” said Kristenn Einarsson, chair of IPA’s Freedom to Publish committee, “and with it the ability for Ukrainian culture to present itself to the world. This war is not just a geo-political event. It is also a war on culture and freedom of expression.”
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Photo by Kourosh Qaffari on Unsplash