Costing more than 200-thousand AZN, Congress of the Azerbaijan Writers’ Union starts in Baku

13th Congress of the Azerbaijan Writers’ Union. Photo: Meydan TV

Writers criticize the high-cost of the event.

The 13th Congress of the Azerbaijan Writers’ Union (AWU) has begun in Baku. The event is being held at the Academic National Drama Theater.

At the invitation of the Union, more than twenty guests from Turkey, Russia, Lithuania, Israel, Pakistan, Georgia, Germany, Iraq, Belarus and Iran are participating in the congress.

The congress was scheduled to be held on September 30, 2022, but it was later postponed. AWU chairman, people’s writer Anar Rzayev justified the delay of the congress with a lack of funds. Because of that, Rzayev appealed to the country’s leadership to hold the congress. As a result, the state donated 203.6 thousand AZN for the event.

This allocation of funds was not positively perceived by the writers’ community in the country. Writer Rasim Garaja, for instance, told Meydan TV while commenting on the on-going congress:

“They are holding a conference with the participation of 330 writers selected from 2,000 people, and the state allocated 203 thousand AZN for this. It is necessary to ask, who are these two thousand people, what are they writing? If we have so many writers, why don’t we have a place in the world literature process?”

Garaja added that the cultural policy of the government needs radical reform. His opinion is that post-Soviet institutions should be abolished, reorganization should be based on modern democratic principles.

The writer Sharif Aghayar shares the same line of thought. He believes that the AWU is a past structure, and the institution is no longer needed, since “the Congress held is as insignificant for the progressive literary environment as the kolkhoz meeting held in some remote village of Gadabay about thirty years ago”. He thinks the structure of the event and the leadership of the AWU are a inheritance from the Soviet past of the country.

The congress of the Azerbaijan Writers’ Union is convened every five years. The congress was last held in 2014 and Anar Rzayev was elected as the chairman. He has been the chairman of the Union since 1987.

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