#freewordsbelarus: 36 Presidents, Chairs and board members of 33 writers’ and translators’ organisations from 22 countries representing 120,000 authors, join voices to support the democracy movement in Belarus.

Posted on November 24, 2020, 11:00 am
12 mins

On 26 November, the 90th birthday of the Belarusian writer Uladzimir Karatkievich, the video reading campaign #freewordsbelarus will be launched on the EWC DailyMotion-channel.

The joint action of the European Writers’ Council (EWC) and the European Council of Literary Translators’ Associations (CEATL) is a strong sign of solidarity with the Belarusian people and the detained Belarusian authors and artists.

Brussels/Stockholm/Minsk, 25 November 2020

“It is with horror that we, the writers and translators of Europe, follow the current situation in Belarus”, says Nina George, President of the European Writers’ Council (EWC). “Dictators have always threatened authors and artists first because that is where the most intrepid resistance can be expected. Our colleagues stand in the front line to defend the values of democracy.” – “But they are not alone”, adds Morten Visby, President of the European Council of Literary Translators’ Associations (CEATL). “Europe is watching and will not look away: We see the regime’s violence and oppression, we see the attacks on freedom of expression, but we also hear the brave voices from Belarus refusing to be silenced. We stand by you – and raise our voices for the Belarusian democracy movement.”

The solidarity campaign #freewordsbelarus presents The Border from the book “Frescoes” by Barys Pjatrovitj, the Chair of The Union of Belarusian Writers, translated into English by a translator who prefers to stay anonymous – for safety reasons.

The Border, read in 35 single sentences, is recomposed, piece by piece, and reader by reader, by the voices, faces and feelings of European writers and translators. The complete list of the Presidents, Chairs and Board Members (next page) speaks for itself.

“Taking an immediate stand for the Belarusian people is crucial and decisive. Not only as an act of solidarity with the people of Belarus, but also in a broader sense for the inviolability of democracy and freedom of speech in the whole of Europe”, underlines Grethe Rottböll, President of the Swedish Writers’ Union, who initiated this supportive action together with the Chair of the International Council, Viveka Sjögren Bangoura. “With the #freewordsbelarus-action, 36 presidents and board members from 33 writers’ and translators’ organisations from 22 countries raise their voice for the Belarusian democracy movement, representing 120,000 authors from Europe, who stand in solidarity.”

An excerpt from The Border, by Barys Pjatrovitj: 

… and there is no need to mention the cycle, the onset-rising-shining-setting, the border between the light and the darkness that is called “evening” in the evening and “morning” in the morning, and which – in one country – is called totalitarianism, authoritarianism, and the incursion of tyranny.

#freewordsbelarus #Свабодныясловыбеларусь is created in a collaboration of the European Writers’ Council (EWC) and the European Council of Literary Translators’ Associations (CEATL) on the initiative of the Swedish Writers’ Union together with the Union of Belarusian Writers. The 36 readers – see the complete list on page 2 – show their support with white and red garments, the colours of the democracy movement in Belarus.

Read more: europeanwriterscouncil.com/freewordsbelarus
EWC on Daily Motion: dailymotion.com/europeanwriterscouncil

To the video: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7xoshk

++ Directed and arranged by Lo Bergsteinsson ++

The video project was realized with the funding by the German Writers’ Union VS (Verband deutscher Schriftstellerinnen und Schriftsteller) together with KULTURWERK deutscher Schriftsteller e.V.



The European Writers’ Council (EWC) is the federation of 46 national organisations of writers and translators in 30 countries including the EU, as well as Belarus, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and Montenegro, representing 160,000 authors, altogether writing in 31 languages.

The European Council of Literary Translators’ Associations (CEATL) is the federation of 35 member associations from 29 countries, representing 10,000 individual translators.


The readers in order of appearance (name, organisation, position, country)

Bel Olid, Associació D’escriptors En Llengua Catalana AELC, President, Spain

Joanne Harris, Society of Authors, Chair, United Kingdom

Eystein Hanssen, Forfatterforbundet, Chair, Norway

Morten Visby, Danish Writers’ Association / CEATL, Chair/President, Denmark

Teodora Tzankova, Bulgarian Translators’ Union, Vice-President, Bulgaria

Manuel Rico Rego, Asociación Colegial de Escritores ACE, President, Spain

Jens J. Kramer, SYNDIKAT e.V., Chair, Germany

Eva Valvo, Strade, Board Member, Italy

Philip Pullman, Society of Authors, President, United Kingdom

Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo, The Society of Swedish Authors in Finland, President, Finland

Justyna Czechowska, Polish Literary Translators Association, Board member,Poland

Leonidas Galazis , Literature and Criticism Association, President, Cyprus

Arno Jundze, Latvian Writers’ Union, Chair, Latvia

Gertrud Maes, Auteursbond, Delegate CEATL, Netherlands

Tanja Petrič, Slovenian Association of Literary Translators, President, Slovenia

Viveka Sjögren Bangoura, The Swedish Writers’ Union, Chair of the International Council, Sweden

Charlotte Collins, Translators’ Association , Co-Chair, United Kingdom

Daniel Cristea-Enache, Writers’ Union of Romania / European Writers’ Council, Director of Communication, Vice-President, Romania

Juliane Wammen, Danish Translators’ Association, Chair, Denmark

Nina George, European Writers’ Council, President, Europe

Hilde Lyng, The Norwegian Association of Literary Translators, Chair , Norway

Werner Richter, IG Übersetzerinnen Übersetzer, Chair, Austria

Endre Szkarosi, Society of Hungarian Authors, President, Hungary

Jeroen Thijssen, Auteursbond, Secretary, Netherlands

Lena Falkenhagen, Verband deutscher Schriftstellerinnen und Schriftsteller (VS), Chair, Germany

Ondřej Lipár, Czech Writers’ Association, Chair, Czech Republic

Yiorgos Chouliaras, Hellenic Authors’ Society, President, Greece

Lissa Oliver, Irish Writers’ Union, Chair, Ireland

Daiva Daugirdiene, The Lithuanian Association of Literary Translators, Chair, Lithuania

Francesca Novajra, Associazione italiana traduttori e interpreti, Delegate CEATL, Italy

Grethe Rottböll, Swedish Writers’ Union, President, Sweden

Thomas Weiler, German Literary Translators’ Association (VdÜ), Member, Germany

Nicola Solomon , Society of Authors, Chief Executive, United Kingdom

Jaakko Kankaanpää, KAOS, Chair , Finland

Geir Hønneland, Norwegian Non-Fiction Writers and Translators Association, Chair, Norway

Barys Pjatrovitj, Union of Belarusian Writers, President, Belarus.


The Border by Barys Pjatrovitj      

the eyes are falling down under the feet, as if the apples in late autumn

– roundly, impetuously, painfully – even the dogs are groaning so piteous, looking at the full moon or the sun that has not hidden yet behind the tree tops or only appeared over them;

who must we trust: the sun or ourselves, the people or the apples, the dogs or the eyes? The writer from Germany shouts: “Everyone to his trade”, and I am recalling Nietzsche and Rotterdam, Spinoza and Nice, and thinking: everything is relative – relative to what is seen by our fallen-scattered eyes and understood by our mind; all is relational or relatival, and not in a different way, and not differently, because otherwise the cows will be grazing in the river, and the pikes will be hunting for wolves in the woods, the night will become the day as the moon will be the sun now, and a quick sparrow will turn into the thick green grass there where a cow [“korova”] has left its korovai;

and there is no need to mention the cycle, the onset-rising-shiningsetting, the border between the light and the darkness that is called “evening” in the evening and “morning” in the morning, and which – in one country – is called totalitarianism, authoritarianism, and the incursion of tyranny –

is it approaching or leaving? is it rising or declining? I have asked silence about it – silence in reply, not a word, not a sound, there is only a flight of a scythe and the moan of the mowings, only a flight of a ball and the howl of a mown football player, Number 11 is making an 11meter kick – the symbolism ends here, but there appears the intrigue: who will whom or whom will who?

i do not like questions that ostensibly give you the right to choose without actually giving it to you, I always think: why “or/or” instead of “and/and” – it would be more fair for the hungry and the full, for supporters and oppositionists, for those who have been drawn near and those who have fallen into disfavor, for you yourself who should learn from others’ mistakes and not be offended if you forget your own ones, and they repeat with a terrifying consistency, which even allows you to draw the formula: (an+an+1+an+2+an+3+an+4…) etc., provided one case equals one case and it does not repeat only if this case is worth not repeating and remaining in the list.


Fighting against the monster: To be a writer in Belarus. A report by Nina George, EWC President.

Download the appeal, the Voices from Belarus and the summary of the political background

To the EWC Statement: The European Writers’ Council vehemently condemns the massive violations of free speech and human rights in Belarus.


Since peaceful protests against a rigged election began in Belarus, the government has unleashed terrible violence against its own citizens, including children. The authorities have imprisoned demonstrators and are subjecting them to horrible conditions beyond comprehension.

These following reports and interviews document the arbitrary violence against citizens of Belarus. A summary of the political events can be found at the end of this collection of Voices from Belarus: