Dar Al Jadeed Publishing House, the Lebanese publisher, has been awarded the 2021 IPA Prix Voltaire by the International Publishers Association’s Freedom to Publish Committee.
Cofounded in Beirut in 2000 by brother and sister Lokman Slim and Rasha al Ameer, the house publishes, the IPA said, “cultural works free from ideological conflict or partisanship.” Slim, a Shiite Muslim who was openly critical of Hezbollah, was murdered in February. Al Ameer will accept the Prix Voltaire in person at the Guadalajara International Book Fair on November 30.
“Publishers, and our colleagues throughout the publishing value chain, need to know that they have the collective support of the entire industry behind them when they face unjust persecution and censorship,” said Bodour Al Qasimi, president of IPA. “This year’s Prix Voltaire laureate paid the ultimate price standing up for freedom of expression as an enabler of tolerance and conflict resolution in Lebanon. His loss is a loss to the entire international publishing community.”
This year’s IPA Prix Voltaire shortlist included independent Belarusian publishers, Mikado Publishing (Turkey), Samir Mansour Bookshop for publishing (Palestine), and Raul Figueroa Sarti (Guatemala). A special award will go to Chinese author Li Liqun, who wrote as Li Huizi, an Independent Chinese PEN Center member who took his own life on this July due in part to censorship by the Chinese government.
“The Freedom to Publish Committee only gives a Prix Voltaire Special Award for cases we feel are particularly noteworthy,” Kristenn Einarsson, chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee, said in a statement. Li Liqun’s efforts as a writer, political commentator and public intellectual were widely respected. The committee is proud to recognize his work for freedom of expression.”