Information in English

We, the Union of Belarusan Writers, are a professional creative community of writers of Belarus, who are united on principles of the freedom of speech and self-expression in order to protect authors’ rights and interests and to develop, popularize, and increase the status of Belarusan literature as an integral value of society, without which no full-fledged existence of the Belarusan nation is possible.

Our purposes
  
- to protect rights of writers as a group which freedom of speech is limited today
- to provide readers with free access to a wide spectrum of independent national literature
- to increase competences of writers who are members of the Union in the advancement of their rights and interests and possibilities of self-expression
- to increase the status of Belarusan works and authors in society

Our team



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Tsikhan Charniakievich, Ales Pashkievich, Usievalad Scieburaka, Siuzanna Paukshtela, Barys Piatrovich, Vika Trenas, Anatol Ivashchanka. Photo by: Jauhien Yerchak   

  • The UBW chairperson - Barys Piatrovich (Sachanka), prose writer, editor-in-chief of Dziejaslou magazine; elected chairperson in 2011, re-elected in 2017 at the 17th congress of the UBW.
  • Ales Pashkievich, first vice-chairperson, writer, scientist, editor of "Literary Belarus" at Novy Cas newspaper; he was UBW chairperson in 2002-2011.
  • Usievalad Scieburaka, vice-chairperson, coordinator of activity of regional branches.
  • Anatol Ivashchanka, poet, secretary of Dziejaslou magazine, candidate of philological sciences.
  • Siuzanna Paukshtela, administrative assistant, literary translator.
  • Cikhan Charniakievich, UBW project manager, social networks manager, scientist, essayist, literary critic.
  • Viktoryja Liaikouskaia (Vika Trenas), poet, press secretary, reporter, photo journalist, manager of UBW web-site, style editor.

Our contacts


220012, Kuzmy Chornaha Str., 31-906, Minsk, Belarus
Tel. +375 17 200 80 91
E-mail: sbp@lit-bel.org  

About us: the past and the present



The Union of Belarusan Writers is the oldest creative organization of the country; it was founded in 1934. The UBW members were the classics of national literature: Janka Kupala, Jakub Kolas, Kuzma Corny, Kandrat Krapiva, Michas Lynkou, Piatrus Brouka, Arkadz Kulasou, Pimien Pancanka, Maksim Tank, Ivan Samiakin, Vasil Bykau. Since its inception, the UBW has always been defending the Belarusan language, culture, and literature, which often led to prosecution on the part of the state.

In the 1930s, about 90% of Belarusan writers were repressed. No other literatures of the former USSR experienced such scales of destruction. During one night only, 80 years ago, on 29-30 November 1937, in Minsk, more than 30 writers were gunned down.


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Literary association "Uzvyshsha".1928
   
During the years of its existence, members of our Union wrote works which, without exaggeration, became part of the gold fund and are studied today at schools and universities. Such names of UBW members as Maksim Tank and Ivan Mielez, Vasil Bykau and Ivan Samiakin, Janka Bryl and Uladzimir Karatkievic, Ales Adamovic and Nil Hilevic, Ryhor Baradulin and Hienadz Buraukin, Ivan Ptasnikau and Michas Stralcou, and many others are well-known in the world.

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17th congress of the Union of Belarusan Writers. Photo by Ales Kisialou

In the 1980s, during Perestroika and Glasnost, UBW members headed the national independence movement and in 1994, when democratic transformations were stopped and attacks on the Belarusan language and culture began, UBW members battled against the establishment of dictatorship in the country, for the freedom of speech and thought, and were punished again. In 1996, according to the Belarusan president’s order, the Writers’ House that belonged to the UBW was expropriated; in 2002 - all editions that were founded by the UBW were expropriated, too. In 2005, the state-run union of writers - the Union of Writers of Belarus - was created. The newly created union was given the premises of our former House and the editions that belonged to the UBW. Thus, the state divided writers in "our authors" and "not our authors" - this divide was caused not by creative principles, but by loyalty to the existing authorities.

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Ales Pashkievich, Anatol Viarcinskі, and Barys Piatrovich at the 17th congress of the Union of Belarusan Writers. Photo by Ales Kisialou

In 2006 and in 2010, the state and the pro-state union made attempts to liquidate our organization, and only thanks to international support and solidarity of literary organizations of Europe we managed to preserve our Union and to avoid liquidation. However, prosecutions of members of our organization continue. There are so-called "black lists" of writers whose works and books are forbidden and cannot be published in state-run publishing houses and editions and whose meetings with readers in libraries and educational institutions are banned.

Today the UBW has 467 members - 332 male writers and 135 female writers, including all the most famous in Belarus and abroad - Anatol Viarcinskі, Ales Razanau, Rajisa Baravikova, Uladzimir Niaklajeu, Svetlana Alexievich, Uladzimir Arlou, and others, as well as the most talented Belarusan authors of middle and younger generations. Their creativities cover all known kinds of literature: poetry, prose, dramatic art, translations, works for children, as well as essays, documentaries, and scientific researches. The organization has a non-fiction section and the Ukrainian Literature Association.
  
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Svetlana Alexievich. Photo by Tacciana Matusievich

Books of members of our organization are translated into various languages of the world. Belarusan writers have recently become winners of many prestigious international awards, and Svetlana Alexievich received the Nobel Prize in 2015.
We work for the sake of writers, teachers, young people who study, readers, fans of literature, creative youth, publishers, book sellers, and experts.

The UBW is a member of the European Literary Council, the Council of the Association of Baltic Literary Unions. The Dziejaslou Magazine published by the UBW is included in the European network of cultural magazines “Eurozine”. In 2015, the UBW received the award “Heroes of Copyright” of the Swedish administrative center of copyrights in the branch of literature ALIS.

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Session of the Council of the Union of Belarusan Writers. Photo by Vika Trenas

The UBW’s administrative activity is provided by the Secretariat (chairperson and vice-chairperson), the Council, the enrolment board and the auditing commission, as well as chairpersons of five regional branches.