33 Books for Belarus

33 Bücher für ein anderes Belarus

Ein Abend über neue Bücher für eine verbotene Kultur

The action 33 Bücher für ein anderes Belarus (33 Books for a another Belarus) was created as an answer to the acts of repression against the independent Belarussian arts and culture scene, which began after the violent suppression of the protests in 2020 and continue at full speed today.

The precarious situation affects everyone in the independent arts and culture scene, and especially the independent publishers, who had already been frequent targets of the Belarussian state. Today there is barely any freedom left for them in Belarus: many publishers were forced to liquidate, the production of books prevented. The initiators of 33 Büchern für ein anderes Belarus, Sylvia Sasse, Iryna Herasimovich and Lukas Bärfuss, want to change this situation for 33 books, at least, attempting to get books out of Belarus and, for Belarus, releasing them at other European publishers. On the one hand, they want to make it possible for specific books to be published; on the other, the action is meant to inspire thinking about open spaces for culture in a different way than within national borders.

The Café at the Gorki will also turn into a safe haven for independent Belarussian arts and culture for one evening. 33 Büchern initiators Sylvia Sasse and Iryna Herasimovich will present the action, its concept, the story of its creation and its future plans. Together with the Belarussian publisher and poet Zmicier Vishniou, they will also introduce the first volume published as part of the action: a joint project between diaphanes, a Swiss publisher, and Halijafy, a Belarussian publisher which no longer exists. An anthology of poetry, dramatic texts and performance documentation from two literary associations which significantly influenced the emancipation of Belarussian literature from the Soviet tradition: the Boom-Bam-Lit movement and the society of independent authors. These nearly 600 pages gather together, for the first time, texts that never had the chance to become part of the official literary and theatrical canon in Belarus and have remained unknown even among the Belarussian readership. This volume contains something that we’re extremely short of at the moment, according to Zmicier Vishniou, and that is freedom.