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Exclusive interview with Svetlana Alexievich to be finale of this year’s Göteborg Book Fair

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This year’s Göteborg Book Fair will conclude on Sunday with a live interview with the Belarusian author and Nobel Prize laureate Svetlana Alexievich. The interview will be broadcast in partnership between the Göteborg Book Fair and the University of Gothenburg.

In light of the deteriorating climate around the freedom of expression in large swathes of the world, which is especially palpable at present in Belarus, the conclusion of this year’s Göteborg Book Fair will feature an exclusive interview with Svetlana Alexievich on the issue of freedom of expression and literature. Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democratic society – what impact can an author have on the current trends?

This Sunday, 27th September, Johan Öberg, literary translator and former Cultural Counsellor at Sweden’s embassy in Moscow, will be interviewing Alexievich live in the Book Fair’s studio at the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden. The interview will be broadcast live at 18:00 (UTC+2) as part of the Late Extra series of events, and will also be streamed in parallel via DN.se. The conversation will be interpreted into English. The event is organised by the University of Gothenburg and the Göteborg Book Fair.

"The ongoing events in Belarus are turbulent and extremely serious. Through her literature, Alexievich has exposed oppression and given the people a diverse range of voices. Those voices need to be heard now more than ever", says Oskar Ekström, Programme Director at the Book Fair.

"Like all other seats of learning, the University of Gothenburg is committed to the support of democracy and freedom of expression in society. We are therefore delighted to be able to offer our support in enabling a key voice for democracy in Belarus to be heard", says Eva Wiberg, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gothenburg.

Svetlana Alexievich has been the guest of both event organisers on several occasions over the years, most recently visiting the Göteborg Book Fair in 2011 and the University of Gothenburg in 2016. She also has another tie to the city – she was ICORN writer in residence from 2006 until 2008 in Gothenburg thanks to its status as a City of Refuge.

About the Seminar
Literature and Freedom of Expression – an Interview with Svetlana Alexievich
What are the relationships between the solitary musical or literary creator’s freedom of expression and the freedom of the people as a whole? Belarusian writer and Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich is unique, controversial and an important figure in her home country – as well as in the west. Common to all her books are dialogue and liberation, talking and listening in a freedom that is simultaneously artistic and political. Alexievich will be in conversation with Johan Öberg, literary translator and former Cultural Counsellor at Sweden’s embassy in Moscow. The event will be interpreted from Russian into English by Vadim Belenky.
Link to the seminar at Book Fair Play >>

About Svetlana Alexievich
Svetlana Alexievich (winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2015) has developed her own unique, dialogue-based literary genre since the 1970s. Whether the theme is war, love, death in Chernobyl or the red (wo)man, all her books feature dialogue and liberation, talking and listening in artistic and political freedom. Working together, people describe each other, tell stories and express themselves about the present day and the future. Alexievich establishes a very special relationship between the solitary musical or literary creator’s freedom of expression and the rights and freedom of expression of the people as a whole. This makes her unique, controversial and an important figure in her home country – as well as in the west.

About the University of Gothenburg
This autumn, the University of Gothenburg will be enhancing its work on freedom of expression through a series of seminars and networking both within and beyond the university and at a national level in Sweden, as well as internationally. The intention is to highlight and strengthen the conditions for freedom of expression the world over on the basis of research and education, literature and the arts, and by working in collaboration with a range of stakeholders.

About the Göteborg Book Fair
The 2020 edition of the Göteborg Book Fair is taking place via the Book Fair Play digital streaming service from 24th to 27th September. This year’s themes are READ! READ! READ! in partnership with the Swedish Reading Movement, and Digital Culture in partnership with Dreamhack, Göteborg & Co, Lin Education, Majblomman and Storytel.

For further information, please contact:
Göteborg Book Fair: Charlotta Parkås
, Press Officer
+46 (0)736-60 69 61
chp@bokmassan.se

University of Gothenburg: Lena Ulrika Rudeke, Director of Programming and Operations at Jonsereds Herrgård Conference Centre
+46 (0)31- 786 54 15
lenaulrika.rudeke@gu.se

Read more at www.bokmassan.se and at www.gu.se

Press photo Svetlana Alexievich / Photo: Margarita Kabakova >>


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