Day one will open with celebrated Norwegian children’s author, Maja Lunde leading a discussion about the role of reading and culture in national development. Besides being one of Norway’s best-selling children’s writers, Lunde has written numerous screenplays and novels that have been translated into dozens of languages.

Political cartoonist and IPA Prix Voltaire laureate, Jonathan ‘Zapiro’ Shapiro, the target of numerous gagging attempts over his trenchant vignettes, will debate freedom to publish with UK-based Iranian publisher Azadeh Parsapour, and Tunisian journalist and human rights activist, Sihem Bensedrine.

And acclaimed writer Dr. Shashi Tharoor, a former United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, will air his views on the power of diversity in storytelling, alongside publishing leaders from Brazil, Germany and Nigeria.

What else?

Educational Publishing will be the focus of a dedicated track on the second day, with highlight speakers including Tariq Al Gurg, who heads the philanthropic educational non-profit Dubai Cares; Albert Nsengiyumva, the Chief Executive of the Alliance for the Development of Education in Africa; Catherine Lucet of French publisher Editis; Colin Hughes of Harper Collins UK; Flavia Alves Bravin of Somos Educação, in Brazil; and Sudhanva Dhananjaya of Excelsoft Technologies, in India.

Ofili Okechukwu, the Nigerian entrepreneur behind digital reading platform OkadaBooks, will steer a session called The Publishing Industry’s Digital Transformation Imperative, and there will be insights from Roberto Banchik, of Penguin Random House Mexico; IBBY President Mingzhou Zhang; and Noura Al Kaabi, the UAE’s Minister for Culture and Knowledge Development.

Discussions will continue through lunch, with Publishing Ecosystem Conversations between leading figures unfolding as delegates enjoy their meal. On day one Kopinor CEO Yngve Slettholm and the Director of the Norwegian National Library, Aslak Sira Myhre will talk about how publishers and libraries can work together through collective licensing. Day two’s lunchtime talk will see Professors Tore Slaatta and Helge Rønning discuss their ground-breaking findings on the use of literary policy instruments around the world.

IPA Committee Chairs Jessica Sänger (Copyright Committee), Kristenn Einarsson (Freedom to Publish Committee), Brian Wafawarowa (Inclusive Publishing and Literacy Committee), and Wilmar Diepgrond (Educational Publishers Forum) as well as former IPA President, Richard Charkin, will all lead sessions.

In addition, the IPA will present seven specially-commissioned reports, providing fresh insights into key publishing issues, including copyright, freedom to publish and literacy. And the IPA Prix Voltaire will be awarded to a person or organization adjudged to have shown extraordinary courage in pursuit of their vocation, which enabled writers to exercise their freedom of expression.


A special reduced rate on tickets applies until the end of February. More information is available online at

More speakers will be announced soon.


About the International Publishers Congress

The 33rd International Publishers Congress will take place under the theme Reading Matters in Lillehammer, Norway from 28-30 May 2020. That same week the biggest literary festival in the Nordic countries will also be taking place in Lillehammer meaning readers, authors and publishers will be brought together. The Congress has two tracks covering trade and education publishing. More information about the programme, how to register and practical information are available at