IMPRISONED NOT SILENCED:an evening of solidarity with writers at risk

2 December 2022 – 7.00 to 8.30 PM

13 Norfolk Place, London, W2 1QJ

The Frontline Club, PEN International, and English PEN are delighted to invite you to an evening of reflection on how literature, journalism, and other forms of writing are both the target of censorship and a powerful tool for advocating for freedom of expression, and how global communities can maintain solidarity with those facing persecution.


A panel of writers and activists will discuss the cases of editor, publisher and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; Belarusian pro-democracy activist, writer and 2022 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ales Bialiatski; British-Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah; and the case of the 12 Eritrean journalists, writers, poets, and government critics detained without trial and held incommunicado since 2001. They will also explore the importance of solidarity and the ways in which people can offer meaningful practical and moral support to writers at risk.

With the generous participation of writer, editor, and journalist, Deepa Anappara, lawyer and human rights defender Stella Assange, writer and PEN Eritrea director Awet Fissehaye,writer, translator, and activist Hanna Komar and writer and activist Ahdaf Soueif. The evening will be moderated by PEN International board member and writer Salil Tripathi and will close with readings of solidarity letters written by Siri Hustvedt and Ahdaf Soueif to imprisoned Iranian writer Narges Mohammadi, and a performance by Uyghur musician and activist Rahima Mahmut. This will be followed by a drinks reception in the Frontline Club bar.

  • Lawyer, human rights defender and campaigner Stella Assange will talk about the case of her imprisoned husband, editor, publisher and Wikealeaks founder Julian Assange
  • Hanna Komar- Belarusian poet, translator, and member of PEN Belarus (formerly imprisoned) will talk about her own experience of imprisonment, the situation in Belarus and the case of Ales Bialiatski, Belarusian pro-democracy activist, writer, prisoner of
  • Eritrean poet, writer and lyricist Awet Fissehaye will talk about freedom of expression in Eritrea and the case of the 12 Eritrean journalists, writers, poets, and government critics detained without trial and held incommunicado for 21 years.
  • Egyptian writer and activist Ahdaf Soueif (OR Sanaa OR Mona Seif- participation TBC yet) will talk aboutthe case ofBritish-Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah 

8.00- 8.20 pm: readings of solidarity letters to imprisoned Iranian writer Narges Mohammadi

  • Author and journalist, Deepa Anappara to read a letter of solidarity written by acclaimed writer Siri Hustvedt to Narges Mohammadi
  • Egyptian writer and activist Ahdaf Soueif to read her own solidarity letter to Narges Mohammadi


  • Musician, activist and World Uyghur Congress UK Director Rahima Mahmut to sing a few of her songs


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