IPA launches search for next Prix Voltaire freedom to publish recipient

 The International Publishers Association (IPA), based in Geneva, Switzerland, has launched its call for nominations for the 2023 IPA Prix Voltaire which recognises ‘exemplary courage in upholding the Freedom to Publish and enabling others to exercise their freedom of expression’.

The organisation says that any individual, group or organization can nominate a publisher, defined as an individual, collective or organization that provides others with the means to share their ideas in written form, including via digital platforms. ‘Nominees will have recently published controversial works amid pressure, threats, intimidation or harassment. Alternatively, they may be publishers with a distinguished record over many years of upholding the freedom to publish and freedom of expression.’

Freedom to publish is one of the founding principles of the IPA. Its protection and promotion is one of IPA’s key objectives. The organisation says: “In many countries, publishers who provide authors with the means to disseminate their written ideas run the same risks as the writers themselves. Their work requires immense courage and a values-based, altruistic commitment. The Freedom to Publish is far from guaranteed around the world, with daily attempts by governments, extremists or private interests to intimidate, attack, imprison and even kill publishers.”

Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee says: “For the 2022 IPA Prix Voltaire we received more nominations than ever before – a sad indictment on the freedom to publish situation around the world. It is vital that we recognise and celebrate our brave colleagues around the world and show that we are united in our commitment to the freedom to publish.”

Previous prize recipients include SameSky Publishing (Thailand, 2022), Lebanese publishing house Dar Al Jadeed (2021), Vietnamese publishing house Liberal Publishing House (2020), Egyptian publisher Khaled Lotfy (2019), Swedish Hong Kong publisher Gui Minhai (2018),Turkish publisher Turhan Günay and publishing house Evrensel (2017), Saudi blogger Raif Badawi (2016) and Belarusian publisher Ihar Lohvinau (2014).


The recipient of the Prix Voltaire will receive 10,000 Swiss francs funded by a range of generous sponsors, chiefly from northern Europe.  They are: Albert Bonniers Förlag (Sweden), Bonnier Media Deutschland (Germany), Holtzbrinck (Germany), Norstedts (Sweden), Penguin Random House,  Samlaget (Norway) and C.H.Beck (Germany). 

The closing date for nominations is 24 February 2023 with the IPA 2023 IPA Prix Voltaire ceremony scheduled to take place at the World Expression Forum (WEXFO, 22-23 May 2023) in Lillehammer, Norway.