The Society of Authors (SoA) and the Irish Writers Union (IWU) have warned about the dangers of a no-deal Brexit.
In a joint statement, the two organisations have paid tribute to the “close literary relationship” between the UK and Ireland but suggested that the “unique and thriving relationship is now under threat as a consequence of Brexit, and it would be torn apart in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal”.
The statement voices concerns over the trading relationship and how it would affect books flowing freely from one country to the other. “The introduction of tariffs and border controls in the event of a ‘no deal’ exit would be disastrous for this close trading relationship, hitting the wider industry in both countries,” the statement reads.
The societies also argue that leaving the EU without a deal could result in the UK adopting an ‘international exhaustion’ framework, meaning that books not intended for sale in the UK could enter the country at discounted rates, and publishers would be unable to set different rates for books bound for different countries. This would damage sales and trade, hitting authors and publishers in both countries, the collectives said in their statement.
There are also concerns that the ending of free movement to and from the UK will sever links within the community of European writers, to the detriment of both Irish and English authors.
Meanwhile the negative effect on currency is also concerning the two organisations and their members. “Brexit has already had a negative impact on the industry, the crash in sterling leading to a 6% reduction in the selling price of Irish books. A no deal scenario is very likely to lead to a sharp fall in sterling and exacerbate this problem further,” the statement reads.
Ultimately the societies argue “that the risks posed by the current path of negotiations are unacceptable”.
“They risk a financial, legislative, commercial and creative split in what has traditionally been a close literary bond,” the statement reads. “Such a split will benefit no one. We urge negotiators from all parties and all political persuasions to develop a clear strategy that will preserve this essential part of our shared cultural heritage – and to ensure that the UK does not crash out of the EU without a deal.”
The SoA is run by chief executive of the Society of Authors Nicola Solomon (pictured) and features members of around 10,500 writers. The IWU was formed in 1986 and is overseen by a committee panel.