The Society of Authors (SoA) and The Irish Writers’ Union have released a joint statement warning of the impact of a no-deal Brexit on publishing and literature in the two countries.
The statement, citing the fact that “the U.K. and Ireland enjoy a close trading relationship” notes how, currently, “books are able to flow freely from one country to the other.” It goes on, then, to note that “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 joint statement also points out that, should England leave the EU without a deal, it could “result in the U.K. adopting an ‘international exhaustion’ framework, meaning that books not intended for sale in the U.K. 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.”
Calling the course of current of negotiations on Brexit “unacceptable,” the organizations are urging negotiators “to develop a clear strategy that will preserve this essential part of our shared cultural heritage–and to ensure that the U.K. does not crash out of the EU without a deal.”
The statement emphasized the historically close relationship between the British and Irish literary communities, in particular, citing the fact that there is an “enduring popularity of Irish writers in the U.K. and vice versa,” and the two industries are “inextricably aligned, sharing the same VAT rates, Nielsen consumer data, territorial rights and Legal Deposit scheme.”
The Irish Writers’ Union is equivalent to the SoA, and is open to Irish writers and writers of Irish interest publications, wherever they are based. The Union was founded in 1986 by authors “wishing to resist censorship in Ireland and in general to provide a voice for the collective expression of writers on matters pertaining to their profession.”
A no-deal Brexit would also present unique problems for the BA, which represents booksellers across Britain and Ireland.
A version of this story originally appeared in the U.K.-based publication, BookBrunch.