IBBY cancels congress in Turkey in light of political turmoil

IBBY cancels congress in Turkey in light of political turmoil

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) has cancelled its 36th International Congress, which was due to take place in Istanbul on 1st–4th September 2017.

In an annual press conference held at yesterday’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair, IBBY president Wally De Doncker said the congress had been shelved despite four years of planning by his Turkish colleagues, because they had been “confronted by a situation beyond their control”.

Turkey has been embroiled in political turmoil which has seen its government condemned for its closure of several publishing houses, and concerns have been raised about writers’ freedom of expression in the country. De Doncker said that, given IBBY’s two-year conference cycle, the organisation’s executive committee is “looking for a feasible solution”, which it hopes to announce in late April.

De Doncker also revealed that, in response to the global refugee crisis, the inaugural IBBY European Regional Meeting—scheduled to take place at the fair on Thursday (6th April)—will be focused on child refugees.

It was also announced that the IBBY World Congress 2022 will be held in Putra- jaya, Malaysia; a call was put out for a new children’s editor for IBBY’s quarterly journal of international children’s literature, with the successful applicant to succeed current editor Björn Sundmark in early 2018; and IBBY also launched an appeal to raise funds to keep open the libraries it set up in Gaza 10 years ago.