GA 2011

General Assembly 2011

Visby, April 1-2 2011

The Baltic Writers’ Council General Assembly 2011
Visby, April 1-2



Janina Orlov, Swedish Writers’ Union
Peter Curman, Swedish Writers’ Union
Karl Martin Sinijärv, Estonian Writers’ Union
Tor Tveite, The Norwegian Association of Literary Translators
Mudite Treimane, Latvian Writers’ Union
Yuliya Tsimafeyeva, The Union of Belarusian Writers
Liutauras Degesys, Lithuanian Writers’ Union
Klaus-Jürgen Liedtke, German Writers’ Union
Hannu Niklander, The Union of Finnish Writers
Tittamari Marttinen, The Union of Finnish Writers
Mari Koskinen, The Finnish Association of Non-Fiction Writers
Bodil  Lindfors, Society of Swedish Authors in Finland
Jaana Nikula, The Finnish Association of Translators and Interpreters
Nikita Filatov, St. Petersburg Writers’ Union
Wojciech Boros, Association of Polish Writers
Lena Pasternak, BCWT
Patrik Muskos, BCWT
Lars Magnus Lahne, BCWT

1) The Chairperson of the Council Janina Orlov opened the meeting at 13:10. The participants presented themselves.

2) Following some changes in the order of items, the Agenda was approved by the Assembly.

3) Ms. Orlov was elected Chairperson of the Assembly and Ms. Nikula was elected Secretary.

4) The Chairperson presented her Activity report.

Dear Colleagues and members.

During 2010 mainly two issues were in focus. They were, and still are, the situation in Belarus and the upcoming IV Baltic Meeting in Turku/Åbo in the beginning of June 2011. Apart from this, the activity of our organisation has been relying on individual members representing  respective  member organisations. These actions are accessible on Facebook as well as on our homepage.  My resumé therefore will be a mixture of the big items, blended with my own activity as a representative of the BWC in different events throughout 2010 and up until the present day.

1. As we all know, the Union of Belarusian Writers was accepted as a full member at last year’s GA.  Sadly enough, already in the end of May, we saw it necessary to publish a press release about the dubious imprisonment of Uladzimir Nyakleyaeu, former chair person of both the UBW, and Belarusian PEN, and presidential candidate. Before that, on 12-15.5 I had the pleasure of representing both the BWC and the Swedish Writers’ Union on a literary journey to Belarus.
This is an annual event in collaboration with the BWU and the Swedish Writer’s Union, and the purpose is to discuss the state of the art, union related issues, and to promote the literatures of both countries. The tour began in Minsk, continued to Salihorsk and ended up in Pinsk. All occasions included presentations and readings and they were open to the public for free. We also had a lengthy but engaging discussion entitled ”What trade union gives for a poet?” in front of a live audience.
In September we were informed about the forcible and unjust arrest of poet and publisher Mikhas Bashura. Together with Pen and the Swedish writers’ union we published a press release condemning the actions of the Belarusian regime. By now we are all very well aware of  how things developed in Belarus during the late fall and the beginning of this year. Aware of the fact that it is only a drop in the ocean, we have kept on protesting against the  authoritative treatment of Belarusian oppositional intellectuals, many of whom are our members. Some of these actions are documented  on our homepage. We also sent a petition to the EU – parliament, and signed a plea to President Lukashenka, urging him to release those who were imprisoned for participating in the demonstrations in Minsk on Dec. 19, 2010. BWC was also one of the signers of a petition to the Ambassador of  Belarus, which was delivered to him on January 10th.

Needless to say that we follow the development in Belarus constantly, and I especially wish to thank Jaana Nikula for keeping us up to date about the ongoings over there. A lot more could be said on the matter, however I will move over to the second item, namely the upcoming IV Baltic Meetings.

2. At last year’s GA we decided to arrange this year’s  Baltic meeting together with Littera Baltica. The event entitled ”Picture this!” with focus on Belarus, Children’s literature and poetry, will take place in Turku, which is the European Cultural Capital of 2011.  The planning for the meeting has been going on throughout the year.

3. As a representative of the Swedish Writers’ Union, I participated in the GA of  the TSWTC (Three Seas’ Writers’ and Translators’ Centre), in May 7-8. and, since Peter Curman who has been representing Sweden in the board, or Comittée, as it is called, I replaced him and was elected treasurer of the TSWTC.. This means bonding between the BWC and TSWTC., which might prove fruitful in the future.
In conclusion I wish to add that our financial situation is good and the accounts in excellent order, thanks to our treasurer Mudite Treimane.


Lidingö, 8.4  2011
Janina Orlov
Chairperson of the BWC


5) The membership application of the Creative Union of Georgian Writers was presented and discussed. Mr Tveite objected the Georgian Union joining BWC since “then any country in the world could join and we need to keep the geographical unity.” Mr. Sinijärv had a negative gut feeling. Mr. Curman wondered about Baltic identity but supported the application. So did Mr. Boros and Ms. Nikula. “Which is more important the name or the idea?” Mr. Filatov asked. Mr. Tveite pointed out that all the member organizations must share the same idea about the freedom of the speech. Mr. Degesys wanted more information concerning the Georgian Union.
Voting followed. Mr. Degesys and Ms. Koskinen served as tellers.
18 votes were cast. For 11, against 5, blank 2.
The creative Union of Georgian Writers was elected a member of BWC.

6) Breaking New Waves project, the third writers’ and translators’ cruise on Eastern Mediterranean was presented by Mr. Curman. The idea was originally launched at the Sufism&Peace conference in Islamabad March 2010. A working group was founded same year in Istanbul during the WALTIC conference. More about the cruise can be read from Mr. Curman’s homepage

7) Reports from Finnish Non-Fiction Writers, The Union of Finnish writers, Estonian Writers’ Union and Norwegian Association of Literary Translators followed. All the written reports from member-organizations can be read from our homepage

The Assembly was concerned to hear about some Finnish publishing houses starting to maculate writers’ works without even asking the writers’ permission or asking whether they would be interested in buying their works. A press release which can also be read from our homepage was send to the Finnish media.

8) The date of the next GA is settled on March 30-31 2012.

9) After a short break the election of Board members followed. Mr. Degesys suggested a rotation system, since he felt Lithuanians had been outside from the Board for too long.
Candidates to the Board of BWC were: Ms. Orlov, Mr.Niklander, Mr. Degesys, Mr. Tveite, Mr. Sinijärv.
Ms. Koskinen and Mr. Boros served as tellers.
The votes were cast as follows:
Ms. Orlov, 7
Mr. Tveite, 8
Mr. Sinijärv, 7
Mr. Niklander, 3
Mr. Degesys, 2
Ms. Orlov, Mr. Sinijärv and Mr. Tveite were elected to the Board of BWC.

Election of Board members to the Board of BCWT followed. The candidates were:
Ms. Treimane, Mr. Tveite, Mr. Niklander, Mr. Degesys, Mr. Sinijärv.
Ms. Koskinen and Mr. Boros continued as tellers.
Mr. Tveite received 5 votes but since Mr. Niklander and Mr. Degesys received 4 votes each a re-election was needed to clarify the result.
The members representing BWC in the Board of BCWT are Mr. Niklander (re-election 5 votes over 4) and Mr. Tveite. Ms. Treimane and Mr. Degesys will serve as deputies.

Ms. Orlov was re-elected unanimously as Chairperson.

Lars Magnus Lahne (deputy Ms. Pasternak) and Jukka-Pekka Pietiäinen (deputy Ms. Tsimafeyeva) were elected Auditors.

10) The session was ended at 17:10 with a glass of wine.

11) The session was resumed at 10:05 on Saturday April 2nd .  The Treasurer Ms. Treimane presented the budget. She found the economy of BWC “rather good”.

12) Ms. Pasternak, the Director of BCWT gave her report. 2010 was yet another active year in the Centre.  Visibility was the theme of the year. The annual Poetry Festival was held in August and in July there was the Almedal week when every Swedish politician heads to Visby. The Centre also hosted the annual meeting of Föreningen Norden (Norden Association) and a poetry seminar. Ms. Pasternak pointed out that even though funding and writing applications takes nowadays a lot of time the core of the function is still the same it was when the Center was founded – to provide a working place to literary professionals.

13) The Auditors Lars Magnus Lahne and Hannu Niklander gave their report. They found the books in excellent order and the Board was granted freedom of responsibility.

14) Ms. Orlov and Ms. Lindfors presented the Baltic Meeting 2011which will be held in Turku, Finland in June. Picture this! is organized jointly by BWC and Littera Baltica. The program can be read from our homepage.

15) The report from Lithuanian Writers’ Union followed. Session was ended at 12:45.

16) The session was resumed after lunch break at 14.30. Reports from Belarus, Poland, Russia, Germany, Finnish translators and the Finnish-Swedish writes, Latvia and Sweden followed.

17) The membership fee is still 150 €. The invoices will be sent out in January 2012.

18) Mr. Liedtke presented the Virtual Baltic Library project. The session and GA was ended at 18:00.


Janina Orlov                                    Jaana Nikula
Chairperson                                    Secretary

Representing 21 literary organizations, 12 countries and 17 000 members