• Home
  • Uchenna Cyril Anioke joins other world publishers in London, as IPA shortlists 5 publishers upholding the freedom to publish.
Uchenna Cyril Anioke joins other world publishers in London

Uchenna Cyril Anioke joins other world publishers in London, as IPA shortlists 5 publishers upholding the freedom to publish.

Uchenna Cyril Anioke joins other world publishers in London, as IPA shortlists 5 publishers upholding the freedom to publish.

Uchenna Cyril Anioke joins other world publishers in London: 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.

Uchenna Cyril Anioke joins other world publishers in London: the laureate 

The laureate will be announced at the World Expression Forum (WEXFO) in Lillehammer, Norway on Monday 22nd May.

The shortlist is as follows:

Mazen Lateef Ali, Iraq
Mazen Lateef first became involved in the book business as a student buying and selling books

on Al-Mutanabi Street in Baghdad, Iraq. In 2007 he established the publishing house Dar Mesopotamia

for Printing, Publishing and Distribution and became an established and respected member of the

cultural community in Iraq. He published a range of books including many about the Jewish communities

and individuals of Iraq. On 31 January 2020 he was kidnapped at gunpoint with no news of his whereabouts since.

Günışığı Kitaplığı Publishing House, Turkey
Founded in 1996, Günışığı Kitaplığı (“Sunshine Library”) specialises in contemporary literature books

for children and young adults. In the last decade, a number of the publisher’s books have been

removed from school reading lists, subjected to concerted social media pressure, banned from

sale on online platforms and at book fairs, and declared “obscene” by the Board for the Protection

of Minors from Obscene Publications. They are currently fighting 7 separate cases of effective bans

on books considered ‘harmful to minors’.

Mehr Husain, Pakistan

Mehr Husain is a journalist, editor, author and publisher. She is the founder of ZUKA Books, established

following Pakistan’s ban on books from India. A sole voice that lobbied the government to help local

authors at a time, she set up ZUKA Books which aimed to create a cultural disruption by speaking up

for the freedom of creative expression, gender equality  and inclusive publishing. ZUKA Books published

books that are the first of their kind in Pakistan and have generated a national dialogue focusing on

female inclusivity and empowerment. In 2021 ZUKA Books co-organised Ananke Women In Literature Festival which focuses on female voices in South Asia and the MENA region.


Ahmed Mahmoud Ibrahim Ahmed, Egypt

Ahmed Mahmoud Ibrahim Ahmed is a young author, photographer, and co-Founder of Kotopia,

an Egyptian Publishing House, established in 2016 and dedicated to publishing books in different genres.

Ahmed was arrested in Saudi Arabia during Riyadh International Bookfair in October 2022 without justification.

He was subsequently released and returned to Egypt on 5 March 2023.

Mercier Press, Ireland

Mercier Press, Ireland

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.

About the 2023 IPA Prix Voltaire
Prix Voltaire nominees are publishers – individuals, groups or organizations – 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

organization 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 organizations that share the values that

the IPA Prix Voltaire recognizes.

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

  • Albert Bonniers Förlag (Sweden)
  • Bonnier Media Deutschland (Germany)
  • Holtzbrinck (Germany)
  • Penguin Random House
  • Norstedts (Sweden)
  • Samlaget (Norway)
  • Verlag C. H. Beck (Germany).   


The International Publishers Association (IPA)

    The IPA is the world’s largest federation of publishers associations. Established in 1896, it
  •  is an industry body with a human rights mandate, whose mission is to promote and protect
  • publishing and raise awareness of publishing as a force for economic, cultural and social development. Working in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other
  • supranational bodies, the IPA champions the interests of book and journal publishing at national and supranational level. Internationally, the IPA actively opposes censorship and promotes copyright,
  • freedom to publish (including through the IPA Prix Voltaire), and literacy. 

Leave a Reply