Posts Tagged ‘writer’

Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie accepts PEN Pinter prize: wants to speak out

October 16, 2018

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie accepts PEN Pinter prize with call to speak out. Arguing that authors have a duty to ‘call a lie a lie’, the Nigerian novelist also names human rights activist Waleed Abulkhair as the 2018 International Writer of Courage.  in the Guardian of 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie pictured at the Women in the World Summit in 2017.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie pictured at the Women in the World Summit in 2017. Photograph: Matteo Prandoni/BFA/Rex/Shutterstock

The Nigerian novelist was described by the Jury as “sophisticated beyond measure in her understanding of gender, race, and global inequality”. In her acceptance lecture at the British Library, Adichie said that while writers should not necessarily speak out on political issues, she did not believe “that art is a valid reason for evading the responsibilities of citizenship – which are to think clearly, to remain informed, and, sometimes, to act and speak”.

…The award-winning novelist revealed how she has been criticised in Nigeria for speaking out about its law criminalising homosexuality, and for her efforts to start a “much-needed conversation” about women’s rights in the country….

Adichie said that she did not choose to speak out about social issues because she is a writer. “But my writing gave me a platform to speak about issues that I have always cared about,” she said. “I do not want to use my art as an armour of neutrality behind which to hide. I am a writer and I am a citizen, and I see my speaking out on social issues as a responsibility of citizenship. I am struck by how often this speaking out is met, in Nigeria, not with genuine engagement, whether to agree or disagree, but with a desire to silence me. A journalist once helpfully summed it up for me: people don’t like it when you talk about feminism, they just want you to shut up and write.”

At the ceremony, Adichie named the lawyer and human rights activist Waleed Abulkhair as this year’s International Writer of Courage, a title awarded by the PEN Pinter winner each year. Abulkhair, a founding member of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia .

Waleed Abulkhair pictured in 2012.
Pinterest Waleed Abulkhair pictured in 2012. The Washington Post/Getty Images

Waleed has dedicated his life to holding the Saudi authorities accountable for human rights abuses,” said Adichie. “He has dedicated his life to speaking out, to supporting the victims of those abuses. Waleed, like Harold Pinter, has shown a lucid dedication to telling his truth. But rather than being lauded for this dedication, Waleed has paid a heavy price – 15 years behind bars.” She said she was deeply proud to share the prize with Abulkhair, “and I hope that this small act of solidarity will bring him some comfort, and will remind him that his struggle has not been forgotten, nor will it be in vain.”

Previous recipients of the International writer of courage include Bangladeshi publisher and writer Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury, also known as Tutul; and Italian investigative journalist Roberto Saviano.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/oct/09/chimamanda-ngozi-adichie-accepts-pen-pinter-prize-with-call-to-speak-out

Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate 1986, dies at the age of 87

July 3, 2016

ASSOCIATED PRESS Holocaust survivor and writer Elie Wiesel died on Saturday aged 87.

Activist and writer Elie Wiesel, the World War Two death camp survivor who won the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize for becoming the life-long voice of millions of Holocaust victims, has died, Israel’s Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem said on Saturday 2 July 2016.  Wiesel, a philosopher, speaker, playwright and professor who also campaigned for the tyrannized and forgotten around the world, was 87.

The Romanian-born Wiesel lived by the credo expressed in “Night,” his landmark story of the Holocaust – “to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”

In awarding the Peace Prize, the Nobel Committee praised Wiesel as a “messenger to mankind” and “one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression and racism continue to characterize the world.” Elie Wiesel went on to receive another 6 human rights awards, including one named after himself.

Source: Elie Wiesel, Holocaust Survivor And Nobel Laureate, Dead At 87

India: Human Rights Defenders being silenced by the court?

January 17, 2016

Pushkar Raj (who taught political science in Delhi University and was the National General Secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in India and is now based in Melbourne) published a piece entitled “Who will speak for the Human Rights Defenders?” in Samaj Weekly and reproduced by TwoCircles.net on 17 January 2016.  In this piece he concludes that the Bombay high court judgment cancelling Prof. Sai Baba’s bail and initiating contempt proceedings against the writer Arundhati Roy is a major blow to the human rights defenders in India and a departure from the courts’ support to the cause of human rights. Read the rest of this entry »

Somali Human Rights Defender Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim receives Oxfam Novib/PEN Award For Freedom Of Expression

February 24, 2014

Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, a participant in the Protective Fellowship Scheme for Human Rights Defenders At Risk at the Centre for Applied Human Rights at York University, was jailed in his native Somalia in 2013 after he interviewed a woman who claimed she was raped by government security forces. On 21 February 2014 he was honored as the recipient of the Oxfam Novib/PEN Award For Freedom Of Expression which recognises writers who have been persecuted for their work and continue to write

via Persecuted journalist in spotlight at University of York From York Press.

http://www.pen-international.org/oxfam-novibpen-award-for-freedom-of-expression/

More known about HRD Du Bin in detention in China thanks to Hu Jia

June 20, 2013

Du Jirong, sister of human rights activist Du Bin, holds up a sign saying “Du Bin is innocent.” outside the Fengtai District Public Security Bureau. (China Human Rights Defenders)

(Du Jirong, sister of human rights activist Du Bin, with sign saying “Du Bin is innocent” outside the Fengtai District Public)

The 41-year-old photographer and filmmaker Du Bin disappeared on May 31, weeks after he had released a documentary on the extreme conditions of Chinese labor camps in May, called Women Above Ghosts’ Heads. His film focused on Masanjia Women’s Labor Camp where many detainees were Read the rest of this entry »

PEN Prize to Honor Jailed Turkish Translator Ayşe Berktay

May 21, 2013

(Ayşe Berktay in Bakırköy Women’s Prison – Photo courtesy Ali Berktay)

On 15 April 2013 PEN American Center  named Ayşe Berktay, a translator, writer, and activist in Turkey, as the recipient of its 2013 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. Berktay, a leading advocate for peace, women’s rights, and Kurdish rights in Turkey, was arrested on October 3, 2011, and is currently being tried for “membership in an illegal organization” for her pro-Kurdish cultural advocacy. One of at least 130 writers currently in prison or on trial in Turkey, many on false terrorism-related charges, she could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Read the rest of this entry »