Language scandal makes literary men leave Belarusian PEN centre

Literary man and publisher Ales Arkush has decided to leave the Belarusian PEN centre. Writer and journalist Vintses Mudrou is leaving the organization too, he told BelaPAN.

The decision was discussed with Mudrou last year. Arkush was not satisfied with the organization’s activities. According to him, the PEN centre has turned into ‘a birdfeeder where humanitarian assistance is divided among its members instead of struggling for writers’. The administration does not discuss anything with ordinary PEN centre members, he said.

Arkush was also dissatisfied with the organization’s recent press release that mentioned the discrimination of writers using Russian. The writer would like to restore the activities of the community Association of Free Writers known since 1993.

Art critic Syarhei Hareuski is also going to leave the PEN centre, he told BelaPAN. He recalled that he had not confirmed his membership in the organization for 10 years anyway.

Journalist and writer Syarhei Dubavets has already left the PEN centre because of this scandal.

A record about ‘the discrimination of writers using the Russian language’ appeared in the PEN centre’s press release earlier. It drew a wide repsonce.PEN center chairperson Andrei Hadanovich publicly apologized for the wrongly used word on March 11.