The #FreeAllWords (https://freeallwords NULL.org/) text and translation fund is a joint support initiative for first and foremost Belarusian and Ukrainian writers, coordinated under the umbrella of the European Writers’ Council (EWC) (https://europeanwriterscouncil NULL.eu/) with the help of CEATL and their respective member associations all over Europe. #FreeAllWords was launched in June 2022 by the authors’ associations A*dS (Authors and Translators of Switzerland), Forfatterforbundet (Norway), and the Community of Belarusian Writers (Belarus).
In October 2022, the Nobel Committee in Oslo awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2022 to the Belarusian lawyer and philosopher Aleś (Aliaksandr) Bialacki (also: Belyatsky), to the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties (CCL), and to the Russian human rights organisation Memorial. Aleś Bialacki (https://freeallwords NULL.org/1958/), founder of the human rights organisation Viasna (also: Vyazna, “spring”), is currently in prison for the second time. He is accused in smuggling or contraband, and in financing of protests. During the pro-democracy protests following the rigged presidential elections in 2020, “Viasna” was active in Belarus by promoting freedom of assembly, defending the rights of political prisoners, and meticulously documenting thousands and thousands of human rights violations.
A few days before the award ceremony in Oslo on 10 December 2022, Aleś Bialacki’s texts became available in seven languages: Translators from #FreeAllWords have transferred excerpts from his 2014 prison diary “The Brown Notebook”/ “Karyčnievy sšytak” and “Dreams”/”Mary”) into English, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Finnish, French, Spanish and Danish, with impressive speed. Bialacki vividly describes his experiences during his first stay in prison from 2011 to 2014. The German version by Lydia Nagel will be published before Christmas. The English translation by Jim Dingley is available on the website of
freeallwords.org (https://freeallwords NULL.org/1958/?read-book=1958&read-book-chapter=4).
“In Belarus, a dictator has been attacking his own people with terror and violence for years now,” says European Writers’ Council President Nina George. “Aleś Bialacki’s diary excerpts document fear, anger, hope, and pain, and should be a reminder to us not to look away, and not to forget the people and the attacked culture in Belarus.”
71 translators from 24 countries with experience in translating from Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian, are now registered within the donation-based text and translation fund.
Since the launch of #FreeAllWords in June 2022, works of prose and poetry by eleven authors from Belarus and five from Ukraine have been translated into nine languages (Danish, German, English, Finnish, French, Lithuanian, Romanian, Spanish and Hungarian). All authors, translators, and texts are presented on the #FreeAllWords (https://freeallwords NULL.org/) website. Media and literary institutions as well as writers’ and translators’ associations are invited to freely use these texts and the background information provided to
draw attention to the situation of writers in Ukraine and Belarus.