GA 2016

Baltic Writers Council (BWC), General Assembly 2016

Time and place: 23rd – 24th of April 2016, Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators, Uddens gränd 3, 621 56 Visby, Sweden.

Participants of the meeting: Mudite Treimane, Aleksandra Duaretskaya, Yulya Tsimafeyeva, Hannu Niklander, Oona Timonen, Piret Viires, Karl Martin Sinijärv, Zinaida Lindén, Justyna Czechowska, Marius Burokas, Jukka-Pekka Pietiäinen, Lena Pasternak, Kazimiera Astratoviene, Heidi von Wright.


  1. The Chairperson of BWC Kazimiera Astratoviene opened the meeting at 13:04 on Saturday April 23rd 2016. The participants of the meeting shortly presented themselves.
  1. The Agenda of the meeting was approved by the Assembly.
  1. Kazimiera Astratoviene was elected chairperson for the meeting, Heidi von Wright was elected secretary.
  1. The Chairperson of the BWC, Kazimiera Astratoviene, presented the activity report for BWC, for the year of 2015:

“ The General Assembly of 2015 for the Baltic Writers Council was arranged in Visby, Gotland, the 27th-28th of March. 12 persons representing 10 organisations from 7 countries took part in the meeting.

During GA 2015 a new Board of the Baltic Writers’ Council was elected. The new board consists of:

Yulya Tsimafejeva, Union of Belarusian Writers

Heidi von Wright, Society of Swedish Writers in Finland, Secretary for BWC.

Stefan Ingvarsson, Swedish Writers Union, Vice-Chairperson for BWC (April 2015-15th Sept. 2015)

Mudite Treimane, Writers’ Union of Latvia, Treasurer for BWC

Kazimiera Astratoviene, Lithuanian Association of Literary Translators, Chariperson for BWC

The most important task for the newly elected Board was to organize an extended GA 2016 – it was decided to change the format of an annual meeting and to have not only GA, but also a seminar with readings, lectures and discussions every second year. This cultural event was to become a certain substitute for Baltic Meetings. On the other hand, any member-organization was free to take Baltic Meetings as a concept and to organize it in their own country.

During the GA 2015 it was decided to change the organization’s name and to start using the name Baltic Writers and Translators’ Council. Therefore the new page on the facebook was created; it has 400 likes by now.

Through its chairperson BWC was represented at the international book fair in Helsinki.

Thanks to The Finnish Association of Non-Fiction Writers meetings with Russian and Finnish authors as possible speakers for the seminar were organized. It was also good opportunity to meet a former chairperson Janina Orlov and a Secretary Heidi von Wright and to discuss the possible programm of the seminar and name change issues.

There were also plans to have a meeting with vice-chairperson Stefan Ingvarsson in Lithuania but it was cancelled when it appeared that Stefan couldn’t continue as a member of the Board due to his move to Moscow. Before resigning Stefan has invited The Polish Literary Translators’ Association to become a member of BWC.

Having in mind that war in Ukraine is one of the most important issues, the chairperson invited Ukrainian writers Boris Chersonsky, Jurij Andriuchovich and Marianna Kijanowska to take part in the seminar. Unfortunately, travel expenses were the biggest problem – working with the tight budget BWC was unable to pay for their trips. But the good news is that Ukrainian writers’ organization is willing to become a member of BWC.

Applications for seminar funding were sent to the Nordic Cultural Fund, Swedish-finnish culture fund (Svenska kulturfonden), Finnish Art Promoting Centre (Taike) and Swedish Writers’ Union. Finnish Art Promoting Centre provided us 2000 euro, Nordic Cultural Fund, Swedish-finnish culture fund and Swedish Writers’ Union didn’t grant us. Besides, Campus Gotland Uppsala University granted us 10 000 Swedish Crowns and Non-fiction Promotion Centre Finland paid the costs of the non-fiction session “Russia and the Boder States Today” (approx. 1600 euros).

  1. Discussion about organizing the extended GA 2016: challenges and possibilities, the literary event the night before, on the 22nd of April in the Almedalen Library in Visby.

Kazimiera Astratoviene referred to the work behind the extended GA in 2014 – there was a lot of work and great ideas of a big international event in Vilnius and Minsk. Finally the event was held in Visby – smaller but with a good program. For the extended GA 2016 the idea was to have a smaller event due to the fact that most of the board was new and the budget was small.

Every one who had been present the day before agreed on that the event was a success when it comes to theme and content. The fact that the audience was very small was a concern, it was decided that future events could be in-house productions – only for the participants of the GA or smaller open readings in the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators.”

Justyna Czechowska presented the translation festival that she is involved in in Gdansk, Poland: Found in translation. She suggested a collaboration of some sort. The Assembly agreed to look into those options. Kazimiera Astratoviene suggested that the matter would be discussed again tomorrow under the topic, other matters.

  1. Name change, where do we go from here. During last years GA it was decided to look into options changing the name from Baltic Writers Council to Baltic Writers and Translators Council. To go through with the name change, according to the statues, also this years GA must a stand in the question. The General Assembly of 2015 decided that it would be more including to change the name from Baltic Writers Council (BWC) to Baltic Writers and Translators Council (BWTC).

After a discussion it was decided that a name change would not be necessary, that it would be better to keep the name Baltic Writers Council, and that Translators also are included in that name. Also the abbreviation BWTC would be too close to the abbreviation of Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators, BCWT.

  1. Membership questions. It was decided that the membership fee is the same as previous years, 150 euros.

Membership applications from Polish Association of Literary Translators. Justyna Czechowska presented the organization. The meeting decided that Polish Association of Literary Translators will become a member of Baltic Writers Council.

Discussion about membership of Ukranian organization. It was decided to look into options to invite a member of that organization to next years meeting.

Discussion about member organizations that cannot pay membership fee: an organization that cannot pay, cannot be a member. As decided last year, and in the minutes from last years GA: ”Counting from 2015 a member-organization which hasn’t paid the fee for two years in a row is considered to be a non-member.” Still, the situation in countries differ very much, that is why it is good to keep the membership fee quite low.

  1. BCWT was presented by Lena Pasternak, the Director of BCWT. During 2015, 210 persons from 35 countries stayed at the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators. The trend of shorter stays are changing, especially Swedes are staying for longer periods of time. In 2015 the centre hosted a ½ month workshop for writers for Ghana and Tanzania. Collaboration with the centre in Ventspils. The centre has hosted visits from schools, readings, workshops. In co-operation with PEN the centre has given stays to refuge writers. Co-operation with Estonian writers organization, German translators fund and the Krokodile organization in Belgrade. On Gotland the centre collaborate with the composer centre, the art centre and the film lab: Film on Gotland. The work library of the centre has taken steps forward but is not yet complete, some shelves are still to be built, and collaborations with other libraries will be organized.

The strength of the centre – it is a house built by writers and translators, it is a place to visit for work and contemplation.

  1. The delegates from each organization presented reports. A few reports were left for tomorrow’s session. The delegates were asked to e-mail the reports to secretary Heidi von Wright, so that they can be published on the BWC-webpage. See appendix.

The session was ended at about 5 pm.

  1. The session was resumed on Sunday April 24th at 10:04. The Treasurer Mudite Treimane presented the budget. The economy is stable, more members than recent years have payed membership fee, several organizations have also payed for the years the have missed. After some minor corrections the budget for 2016 was approved.

One worrisome detail is that the bank system has changed due to security reasons. We must arrange to get access to the bank.

  1. Signing for the firm.

The board chairperson of Baltic Writers Council, Kazimiera Astratoviene, the secretary of Baltic Writers Council, Heidi von Wright, and Lena Pasternak, director of the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators, all independent of each other, are authorized to sign for Baltic Writers Council.

  1. Deputy auditor Lena Pasternak read the Auditors report, since none of the auditors (Merete Jensen and Lars Magnus Lahne) were present at the meeting. The auditor found the books in excellent order and the board was granted freedom of responsibility.
  1. Reports from member organizations continued. See appendix.

The session was ended for lunch break at 13:00

  1. The session was resumed after lunch break at 14:02. Election of board members. Mudite Treimane (retiring by rotation was willing to continue). Since Stefan Ingvarsson resigned from the board in the autumn of 2015 a new board member was to be elected. Mudite Treimane was re-elected, Jukka-Pekka Pietiäinen was elected a new member of the board.

Justyna Czechowska and Olle Jansson were elected auditors.

  1. Other issues.

15.1. All member organizations are asked to post information on the facebook page when it feels appropriate.

15.2. BWC has revcieved a project proposal from the Literaturhaus
Schleswig-Holstein e.V. They are looking for the potential partners among the members of BWC. The project proposal has been forwarded per e-mail to the delegates at the GA. The BWC as an organization will not be a partner, member organizations can collaborate and are asked to contact the organizers.

15.3. The discussion from yesterday (see 5.) was continues, about the festival in Gdansk. It was decided that the discussion will continue and that BWC can provide contacts and somehow take part in the festival Found in Translation in Gdansk in April 2017.

  1. Date for the next GA was decided to be April 28-29 2017
  1. The session and GA was ended at 14:48.

Kazimiera Astratoviene

Heidi von Wright

Representing 21 literary organizations, 12 countries and 17 000 members