The Geneva-based International Publishers Association (IPA) today launches its call for nominations for the 2019 IPA Prix Voltaire for exemplary courage in upholding the Freedom to Publish and enabling others to exercise their freedom of expression.

Freedom to publish is one of the founding principles of the IPA. In many countries, publishers who provide authors with the means to disseminate their written ideas run the same risks as the writers themselves. Their work requires immense courage and a values-based, altruistic compulsion. The Freedom to Publish is far from guaranteed around the world, with daily attempts by governments, extremists or private interests to intimidate, attack, imprison and even kill publishers.

IPA President, Dr Michiel Kolman said: It has never been clearer why the freedom to publish stands alongside copyright as a pillar of the IPA’s work. It is the international publishing community’s duty to support our colleagues risking their lives for their freedom to publish and for whom enforcing their copyright can only be an afterthought. There are so many brave publishers out there, let’s shine the light on them.

Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee said: The freedom to publish is increasingly under threat. Strong publishers enable thoughts of authors that challenge the status quo to reach an audience. Promoting the inspirational stories of those publishers who become Prix Voltaire laureates, who continue to do this in the face of legal and sometimes physical intimidation is essential so that others can follow their lead. We also have to work continuously for those who are kept silent.

Previous prize recipients include Swedish Hong Kong publisher Gui Minhai (2018),Turkish publisher Turhan Günay and publishing house Evrensel, Saudi blogger Raif Badawi (2016) and Belarusian publisher Ihar Lohvinau (2014).

Who nominates whom?

Any individual, group or organization can nominate a publisher, defined as an individual, collective or organization that provides others with the means to share their ideas in written form, including via digital platforms. Nominees will have recently published controversial works amid pressure, threats, intimidation or harassment. Alternatively, they may be publishers with a distinguished record over many years of upholding the freedom to publish and freedom of expression.

Nominations are to be submitted by email using the application form to the IPA at

Key dates

The closing date for nominations is 20 February 2019, after which the nine publishing professionals that make up the IPA Freedom to Publish Committee will identify a longlist to be announced around the London Book Fair before agreeing on a shortlist and selecting the winner. The IPA will announce the outcome in May 2019 and present the award during Seoul International Book Fair on Friday 21 June 2019.

What’s the prize?

The recipient will receive 10,000 Swiss francs funded by a range of generous sponsors, which are listed below. To find out how you or your organization can support the IPA Prix Voltaire, please contact

The sponsors of the IPA Prix Voltaire are, in alphabetical order:


prix voltaire sponsor cloud 2019