The Embassy of Poland is surprised by the situation with Poland's exposition stand at the 20th Minsk International Book Fair on February 6.
People in mufti disrupted the presentation of the book by writer and politician Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu “Minsk Novel. Soda Fountain. With or without Syrup”.
Sebastian Orzel, a spokesman for the Polish embassy, told BelaPAN the embassy “was surprised by the situation”. “We had several square metres for the event. Everyone knows that Mr Nyaklyaeu is a member of the PEN club nominated for Jerzy Giedroyc Award. The book he was presenting has no relation to politics. It's strange for us that it ended in such a way,” he noted.
Orzel expressed a hope the incident would not affect other events in the Polish exposition booth during the fair.
The book fair opened in Belexpo exhibition pavilion in Minsk on February 6. The Belarusian PEN Centre presented 9 of 12 books nominated for the Jerzy Giedroyc Literary Award near the stand of Poland. The first book was “Minsk Novel. Soda Fountain. With or without Syrup” by poet, writer and leader of Tell the Truth civil campaign Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu.
PEN Centre head Andrei Khadanovich began to introduce Nyaklyaeu when a man in mufti came to him and offered to step aside to talk. The man said the event had not been planned and gave “five minutes to think”. Khadznovich told this to Nyaklyaeu, who already began to speak about his new book. The same man later asked Khadanovich to talk again. Nyaklyaeu saw this, said it “is becoming dangerous” and offered to stop the presentation.
Nyaklyaeu noted the authorities did everything to show “they are not only in charge of politics and economy, but also control culture” in the country. He said he hoped the time would come when his books “will be presented in more civilised conditions”.