Lithuanian Writers Union (LWU) – an institute of poets, prosaists, playwrights, translators, reviewers and literature scientists in Lithuania. The institute also includes Lithuanian writers living abroad. The LWU departments operate in Kaunas and Klaipeda. The organisation’s head is a chairman and a board elected by a congress.
The LWU has its own publishing house, library, club, creation and recreation houses, publishes periodicals: magazines Metai, Vilnius (in English and Russian languages), weeklies: Literature and Art, Nemunas. Since 1965 the LWU organizes an international festival of poetry Poezijos pavasaris (Poetry Spring) (on the eve of the event an almanac of the festival participants is being issued). Since 1991 the ULW nominates its yearly award.
Lithuanian Writers Union
K.Sirvydo st. 6, 01101 Vilnius, Lithuania
Phone: (8-5) 212 3919 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (8-5) 212 3919 end_of_the_skype_highlighti
Chairman – Antanas A. Jonynas: phone: +370 600 08355 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +370 600 08355 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Vice-chairman – Birutė Jonuškaitė-Augustinienė: phone: +370 614 04640 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +370 614 04640 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Coordinator for international programmes – Donatas Petrošius: phone: +370 600 08285 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +370 600 08285 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accounting-department: phone: (8-5) 262 6154 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (8-5) 262 6154 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, email@example.com
The LWU Board members:
1. Eugenijus Ališanka
2. Erika Drungytė
3. Vladas Braziūnas
4. Rimantas Černiauskas
5. Liutauras Degėsys
6. Liudvikas Jakimavičius
7. Antanas A. Jonynas
8. Birutė Jonuškaitė
9. Robertas Keturakis
10. Jonas Liniauskas
11. Marcelijus Martinaitis
12. Danielius Mušinskas
13. Petras Palilionis
14. Kornelijus Platelis
15. Viktoras Rudžianskas
16. Valentinas Sventickas
17. Renata Šerelytė
The LWU cooperates with culture centres abroad as well as culture attachés of embassies in Lithuania, prepares joint projects; recommends texts of the Lithuanian literature to foreign publishers of books and magazines; organizes presentations of the Lithuanian literature and writers’ meetings abroad; delegates Lithuanian writers to festivals, conferences and other literature events that take place outside Lithuania; spreads information about the Lithuanian literature, Lithuania writers, the LWU activity, publishers; helps to establish new contacts; invites foreign guests to the international festival ‘Poezijos pavasaris’ (Poetry Spring); provides with information Lithuanian writers about writers’ and translators’ residences and grants abroad and intermediates in applying for them; the LWU also spreads information about permanent competitions.
Since 1992 the LWU is a member of the European Writers Congress, since 1997 – a member of the Baltic Writers Council and Three Seas Council. The LWU participates in implementation of international projects Baltic Ring (backed by the EU programme Culture 2000), TransEuropaExpress and Littera Baltica. Every year the LWU nominates applicants for the literature awards of Nobel and Astrida Lindgren.
The LWU cooperates (under bilateral agreements) with:
Union of Latvia Writers
Poland Writers Association
Union of Sweden Writers
Union of Slovenia Writers
Marburg Writers Organization (Germany)
Alliance of Gratz Authors (Austria)
Union of Finland Writers
Union of Croatia Writers
Union of Sankt Petersburg Writers (Russia)
Union of Israel Hebrew Writers.
As soon as Lithuania declared its independency on February 16, 1918, the Lithuanian artists started to cluster into creative groups and organizations. At that time (1920-1922, 1925-1932) there was Litterateurs Section of Lithuania Art Creators Association. In 1922 The Union of Lithuania Writers and Journalists was founded. In 1929 it was reorganized into the Union of Lithuania Journalists and shortly (in 1932), on initiative of Balys Sruoga and Juozas Grušas, the Association of Lithuania Writers (ALW) was founded. The ALW board chairman was Ignas Šeinius. The ALW organized the literature parties, ‘Wednesdays of the writers’, provided a yearly subsidy for the National Awards of 5000 Litas. The awarded writers were: Ieva Simonaitytė (1935), Liudas Dovydėnas (1936), Jonas Aistis (1937), Salomėja Nėris (1938), Bernardas Brazdžionis (1939). The ULW chairman Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas (1932-1933), Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas (1933-1937), Juozas Grušas (1937-1938), Liudas Gira (1938-1940), Bernardas Brazdžionis (1941), Faustas Kirša (1942-1944).
The ALW headquarters was in Kaunas, the temporary capital of the Lithuania Republic.
The ALW activity was disorganized because of occupation and annexation of the Lithuania Republic.
Deportations, war and ‘Gulags’ camps dissipated the Lithuania litterateurs. A great part of them moved to the West. In 1946 the emigrations writers (33 of them were the members of the ALW) established the Association of the Lithuanian Emigration Writers. Almost the equal number of the ALW members remained in the annexed Lithuania (in early 1940 the ALW had 86 members and 12 candidates).
The ALW reorganization into the Union of the Lithuania SSR Soviet Writers took several years. In 1940-1941 a chairman of the organization board was Petras Cvirka, in 1942-1944 there was an organization bureau in Moscow under the leadership of Kostas Korsakas. On November 1, 1944, the soviet occupational authority, having returned to Lithuania, declared that the Union of Writers resumed its activity and on December 19 the Union’s board was confirmed (chairman Kostas Korsakas) what started to register members. The 1st Congress of writers living in the annexed Lithuania, what took place in Vilnius on October 25-27, 1945, officially legitimated an organization of Lithuania writers - the Union of the Lithuania SSR Soviet Writers, which was subject to the USSR Writers Union. A headquarters of the Union was in Vilnius.
More than 90 Lithuanian litterateurs experienced repressions during the first post-war decade. The Lithuanian literature felt severe crisis. The whole publishing was nationalized (works of fiction were also published by one state publishing-house), works were being censored. During the first post-war decade some writers not only didn’t publish their works, but also didn’t create. Only after J.Stalin’s death (in 1953), during the years of ‘thaw’, conditions for the creation became better.
In the middle of the 6th decade writers Antanas Miškinis, Kazys Inčiūra and others, having returned from the ‘Gulags’ camps, lifted up their voice. In 1959-1965 about 20 novels and more than 80 collections of poetry were published. Since 1970 publication of the emigration writers’ works was started. Valuable works on literature science were also published.
The writers’ organization was able to endow its members: using funds of the Literature Fund, the organization built apartments for writers, allocated allowances, traveller’s cheques to sanatoriums and ‘house of creation’. After deletion of an attribute ‘soviet’, the organization was named The Union of Lithuania SSR Writers.
In 1970-1975 the Lithuanian writers had translated from other languages (mostly from the Russian and other languages of the USSR nations) more than 100 books. About 50 Lithuanian books were translated into languages of the so called countries of national democracy. The literature parties became more frequent: during the mentioned period there were organized almost 2 thousand of the literature parties. The parties were attractive for their freeing ideas and viability of the Lithuanian word.
During a period of 1975-1985 the organization’s condition and books’ publishing changed a little. Literature during this decade was still regulated, liberal attitude of intelligentsia was not accepted yet, there were almost no contacts with writers of the western countries.
Nevertheless, the Communist party failed to completely fetter the literature life. Literature became more and more free and the creative resistance became more public. There were many ways to circumvent prohibitions of censor. The development of democracy in 1985-1986 opened doors more widely for a free thought in creation, history and policy.
The progressive tendencies also strengthened in the writers’ organizational activity. In the board plenum ‘Literature heritage and today’, what took place in 1987, the literature heritage was newly reviewed, scheduled its publishing order, agreed to expand publishing of the exodus and deportation literature.
A spirit of the national renaissance burst with the anniversary events, dedicated to Maironis, Vincas Kudirka and magazine ‘Varpas’. Writers’ discussions, what previously used to be beyond closed doors, became public, there were talks about censor, followed by some articles about it (censor was recalled in Lithuania on February 9, 1990), creative freedom, the Lithuanian language, destiny of the state. Writers openly uttered about their country’s occupation and annexation, deportation and resistance, recreation of the Republic of Lithuania.
On June 3, 1988, at the meeting of scientists, writers and other artists were formed an initiative group of Lithuania changeover movement in which were some famous writers.
On June7, 1989 at the uncommon congress the Union of Lithuania SSR Writers separated itself from the Union of the USSR Writers: declared the organization’s independence declaration, passed its statute and changed the name – Lithuanian Writers Union.
The statute of the LWU was corrected at the LWU congress, what took place already in the independent Republic of Lithuania on December 14-15, 1990. The LWU enlisted all the former ALW members living in Lithuania and more than 20 writers, members of the Association of Lithuania Writers, still acting abroad and whose board since 1988 is in Chicago, joined the Lithuania Writers Union. On December 16, 1994 the LWU congress stated that the organization was changing turning into a creative professional community, what massed writing people of various attitudes.
After World War II there were congresses of the Lithuanian writers in Vilnius in 1945, 1954, 1959, 1967, 1970, 1975, 1981, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2006.
In 2005 Lithuania Writers Union was ranked association of art creators and each member of the ULW obtained a status of art creator.
The chairmen of the Lithuanian writers organizations’ board during that period were: Kostas Korsakas (1944-1945), Petras Cvirka (1945-1947), Jonas Šimkus (1948-1954), Antanas Venclova (1954-1959), Eduardas Mieželaitis (1959-1970), Alfonsas Bieliauskas (1970-1976), Alfonsas Maldonis (1976-1988), Vytautas Martinkus (1988-1989). The chairmen of the Union of Lithuania Writers elected at congress were: Vytautas Martinkus (1989-1994), Valentinas Sventickas (1994-2002), since December 13, 2002 till now – Jonas Liniauskas.