Mercier Press shortlisted for the 2023 IPA Prix Voltaire
At London Book Fair, following a freedom-to-publish session dedicated to strategic litigation against public participation (SLAPPs) and the role of publishers in guaranteeing freedom of expression of authors, the IPA announced its 5-strong shortlist for the 2023 IPA Prix Voltaire from Egypt, Iraq, Ireland, Pakistan and Turkey.
Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee said: Publishers play a vital role in guaranteeing the freedom of expression of authors. This year’s 2023 IPA Prix Voltaire shortlist is a testament to publishers who put themselves at risk to publish the works of others and contribute to our societies by ensuring readers have access to multiple voices and perspectives.
The laureate will be announced at the World Expression Forum (WEXFO) in Lillehammer, Norway on Monday 22nd April.
Prix Voltaire nominees are publishers – individuals, groups or organisations – who have typically published controversial works amid pressure, threats, intimidation or harassment, be it from governments, other authorities or private interests. Alternatively, they may be publishers with a distinguished record of upholding the values of freedom to publish and freedom of expression. For the purposes of the IPA Prix Voltaire, the definition of ‘publisher’ is an individual, collective or organisation that provides others with the means to share their ideas in written form, including via digital platforms.
The IPA Prix Voltaire, which comes with a CHF 10,000 prize, is made possible by generous contributions from sponsors, all of which are publishing houses and organisations that share the values that the IPA Prix Voltaire recognises.
Mercier Press was founded in 1944 by Captain Seán and Mary Feehan as they believed in the importance of Ireland’s ability to provide accessible histories and cultural books for all who are interested in Irish life. Mercier challenged Catholic dogma which dominated Irish society as well as censorship in Ireland, publishing books like Marriage Partnership (which had to be sold under the counter) and went on to publish a range of titles on previously undiscussed matters such as drug abuse, domestic violence, the sexual revolution, women’s rights and clerical sexual abuse. Mercier continue to publish controversial books – including titles like One Day in My Life by Bobby Sands; The SAS in Ireland by Raymond Murray; Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland by Anne Cadwallader; Burnt Out: How the Troubles Began by Michael McCann.
Other shortlisted publishers include Mazen Lateef Ali (Iraq), Günışığı Kitaplığı Publishing House (Turkey), Mehr Husain (Pakistan) and Ahmed Mahmoud Ibrahim Ahmed (Egypt).