Poet and translator Andrey Khadanovich was reelected chairman of Belarusian PEN Center in an uncontested vote at a conference in Minsk on February 17.
As the 40-year-old Khadanovich commented in an interview with BelaPAN, the delegates would not have reelected him if they wanted the literary union to change its strategy.
"Older colleagues suggested several other candidates, including Lyavon Barshchewski and Uladzimir Nyaklyayew," he said. "However, they had already held this position and would not run for it again. I invited Uladzimir Arlow to be my successor, but he replied that was out of the question, citing health reasons. So, after some chiding, they reelected me."
Given that the situation of independent Belarusian writers and the Belarusian language itself is not very good and neither is Belarus' freedom of speech record, Belarusian PEN Center will continue to combat censorship and self-censorship, Mr. Khadanovich said.
"The Center will do its best to improve the conditions for independent writers," he said. "In particular, we'll work to encourage independent publishing and information exchange among writers, organize literary festivals, present awards, grant scholarships and work with young writers."
Mr. Khadanovich became chairman of Belarusian PEN Center in 2008, succeeding prominent poet Uladzimir Nyaklyayew.
Born in February 1973, Andrey Khadanovich graduated from the philology department of Belarusian State University in 1995 (BSU) and taught French literature at BSU and Yakub Kolas National Humanities Lyceum. His poems have been translated into the Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, English, Latvian, Lithuanian, German, and Slovak languages.