Iranian City of Refuge-writer awarded PEN-prize

Iranian Journalist Receives the Oxfam Novib / PEN Award

The Hague, January 13. The Iranian journalist, blogger and activist Asieh Amini will be receiving the Oxfam Novib / Pen Award on January 19 from the hands of human rights ambassador Lionel Veer. The presentation will take place at the ‘Theatre at the Spui’ in The Hague, during the Writers Unlimited Winter Nights Festival. This award is presented every year to writers and journalists who are persecuted or have had to flee because of their critical writing.

Asieh Amini left Iran in 2007, after five days of incarceration in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison due to her protests against the imprisonment of a fellow activist. At the moment she lives in exile in Norway, where she continues to speak out against social injustice and to write poetry and non-fiction. She is also active in the ‘Stop Stoning Forever Campaign’, which monitors incidences of stoning in Iran, reports them and collects evidence.

The following writers will also be receiving the Oxfam Novib / PEN Award, but will not be present at the presentation:

·         Mikhail Beketov, Russian journalist and former editor of the independent newspaper Khimkinskaya Pravda.

·         Rachid Nino, Moroccan editor of the daily Almasae and owner of the Massae Media Group.

·         Jesus Lemus Baragja, Mexican journalist and writer, former editor of the daily El Tiempo.

·         Alhaj Warrag and Abdul-Moneim Suleiman, respectively founder and chief editor from Sudan of the Arab newspaper Ajras el Hurriya.

The presentation will be followed by a discussion: Naema Tahir will engage Asieh Amini and writers Leila Chudori (Indonesia) and Bejan Matur (Turkey) in a discussion on women’s rights and sexuality. Kader Abdolah will be speaking the closing words.

The presentation of the Oxfam Novib / PEN Award is part of the Writers Unlimited Winter Nights Festival, which takes place in The Hague from Thursday January 19 to Sunday January 22.

About the Oxfam Novib / PEN Award. The international writers association PEN (Poets, Editors, Essay writers and Novelists) is a partner organisation of Oxfam Novib and committed to helping persecuted writers. The PEN Emergency Fund helps persecuted writers and those who have had to flee with a one-off amount of € 2,500 to help them overcome problems. Five awards are presented annually, but only one of the laureates visits the Netherlands. The Oxfam Novib / PEN Award went earlier to Hrant Dink (Turkey), Duong Thu Huong (Vietnam) and Ann Politkovskaya (Russia). Last year Russian film-maker Andrei Nekrasov received the award. As international city of justice, peace and security The Hague is the logical place for presenting the award.