- Mehr Hussain is the first Pakistani woman to be nominated for the 2023 IPA Prix Voltaire award.
- The IPA has announced its 5-strong shortlist, which includes nominees from Egypt, Iraq, Ireland, Pakistan, and Turkey.
- The winner will be announced at the World Expression Forum in Norway on May 22.
Mehr Hussain, a renowned journalist, editor, author, and publisher from Pakistan, has been nominated for the 2023 International Publishers Association (IPA) Prix Voltaire award.
This is a significant milestone for Hussain as she becomes the first woman from Pakistan to receive this nomination.
The IPA has announced the shortlist for the 2023 IPA Prix Voltaire, which includes five nominees from Egypt, Iraq, Ireland, Pakistan, and Turkey.
The nominees are recognized for their contributions to guaranteeing the freedom of expression of authors and for putting themselves at risk to publish works that offer readers access to multiple voices and perspectives.
Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee, praised publishers for their vital role in promoting the freedom of expression of authors.
Einarsson also emphasized the nominees’ commitment to advocating for diverse voices in publishing, stating that the 2023 IPA Prix Voltaire shortlist is a testament to their courage and dedication.
The winner of the award will be announced at the World Expression Forum (WEXFO) in Lillehammer, Norway, on May 22. The other nominees include Günışığı Kitaplığı Publishing House from Turkiye, Egyptian author Ahmed Mahmoud Ibrahim Ahmed, Mercier Press from Ireland, and Iraqi publisher Mazen Lateef Ali.
Mehr Hussain is the founder of ZUKA Books, a publishing house established following Pakistan’s ban on books from India. At that time, Hussain lobbied the government to support local authors and set up ZUKA Books to promote creative expression, gender equality, and inclusive publishing.
ZUKA Books has published books that are the first of their kind in Pakistan and have generated a national dialogue focused on female inclusivity and empowerment.
The publishing house aims to create cultural disruption by advocating for the freedom of creative expression, encouraging diversity in publishing, and amplifying underrepresented voices.
In 2021, ZUKA Books co-organized the Ananke Women In Literature Festival, which brought together female voices in South Asia and the MENA region.
The festival aimed to promote women’s voices and to showcase their diverse perspectives in literature. The festival was a significant success and received widespread acclaim for its contribution to promoting gender inclusivity and diversity in literature.
Hussain’s nomination for the 2023 IPA Prix Voltaire is a significant recognition of her contributions to promoting freedom of expression and diversity in publishing. It is a testament to her dedication to empowering underrepresented voices and advocating for gender equality in literature.
Her efforts to create cultural disruption and to promote inclusivity in publishing have had a lasting impact on Pakistan’s literary landscape and beyond.
Kudos to Mehr Hussain.
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