The International Publishers Association has announced that the 2021 Voltaire Prize will be held on December 1 at the Guadalajara International Book Fair in Mexico. This award recognizes the bold stances in supporting freedom of publication and enabling others to exercise their freedom of expression. Nominations close on June 20, 2021.
Freedom to publish is one of the core principles of the International Publishers Association. Its protection and promotion are among the main objectives of the Union. In many countries, publishers who provide authors with the means to publish their written ideas are exposed to the same risks as writers themselves. Their work requires tremendous courage and a strong commitment to values. Freedom to publish is not guaranteed worldwide, with daily attempts by governments, extremists or special interests to intimidate, attack, imprison, and even kill publishers.
Announcing the start of receiving nominations earlier in 2021, Kristen Ennarson, chair of the Publishers’ Freedom Committee, emphasized that the Freedom of Publication 2020 report demonstrated the scale and extent of the challenges facing freedom of expression worldwide. The Federation therefore looks forward to celebrating these publishers and supporting those who have put themselves at many risks by bringing different and candid ideas into the hands of readers.
Previous winners of the award include Vietnamese publisher Liberal Publishing House (2020), Egyptian publisher Khaled Lotfy (2019), Swedish publisher in Hong Kong Ge Minhai (2018), Turkish publisher Turhan Gunay and Evrensel (2017), and Saudi blogger Raif Badawi. (2016), and Belarusian publisher Ihar Lovinau (2014).
Who nominates whom?
Any individual, group or organization can nominate a publisher, defined as an individual, group or organization that provides others with the means to share their ideas in written form, including via digital platforms. Candidates are required to have recently published controversial work amid pressure, threats, intimidation or harassment. Publishers with an outstanding track record over many years of upholding freedom of publication and expression may also be nominated.
Nominations must be submitted by email using the application form to the International Publishers Association at:
The deadline for nominations is June 20, 2021, after which the nine experts who make up the Publishers Freedom Committee of the International Publishers Association will determine the long list of nominees before agreeing on a shortlist and selecting the winner of the 2021 Prize. The winner will be announced by the International Federation of Publishers in late 2021