Lithuania’s Day of the Book Smugglers, held annually on 16th March, is this year coming to London in celebration of “publishing ties old and new” in anticipation of the Baltics’ spotlight at The London Book Fair Market Focus 2018.
The Lithuanian Culture Institute will be sending a troupe of modern-day smugglers with Lithuanian literature to key cultural institutions across the city to provide insight into Lithuania’s literature, culture and history and to highlight its hopes that a new wave of literature from the region will hit British bookshelves in 2018.
During the press ban on Lithuanian language books, enforced by the occupying Tsarist Russian Empire between 1864 to 1904 in an attempt to Russify the country, almost 3,000 smugglers were punished by the Russian authorities. However, during the ban, they brought around five million books into the country and became the symbol of the national resistance movement - a pattern of dissidence set to be repeated under the later USSR occupation from 1940-1990.
The event in London also coincides with the centenary of the restoration of the Lithuanian state in 2018, a significant moment in the country’s journey to become a free and independent state.
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Reported by: The Bookseller