Radio X on the "33 Books
During the Cold War, many books were banned in the Soviet Union. Authors who were not allowed to publish their manuscripts often turned to publishers in the West in order to have their books printed after all. Once again smuggled past the Iron Curtain, these books helped to keep critical and independent thinking alive in the Soviet Union. Tamizdat, Russian for "there publishing", was the name given to the concept.
Unfortunately, for many Belarusian authors, Tamizdat is once again the only possibility to publish their texts: since the violent suppression of the revolution of 2020, the regime in Belarus has also been acting with strong repression against the independent cultural scene. With their project 33 Books for Another Belarus, translator Iryna Herasimovich, Slavist Sylvia Sasse and Swiss author Lukas Bärfuss want to help circumvent the censorship. Several publishing houses have agreed to publish the Belarusian books. The Belarusian diaspora will be able to read printed editions, while readers in Belarus will be able to receive the texts as e-books.
For the article, we were able to talk to Iryna Herasimovich and the Belarusian author Zmicier Vishniou about the project and the situation of the Belarusian cultural scene at a reading in Basel.