Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Jailed Iranian Author Wins "Freedom to Write" Award

Nasrin Sotoudeh
 I received a newsletter from PEN American Center recently and it told of another author being jailed for speaking their mind.  Nasrin Sotoudeh, a 47-year-old mother of two, is a journalist and human rights attorney in Iran.  She was imprisoned for eleven years for "spreading lies against the regime" among other things. They confiscated her only writing instrument so she can't write to her family, she can't work on her defense, she can't even mark the days of her sentence as they go by.  On April 28, 2011 570 PEN luminaries and supporters honored her as she received the 2011 PEN/Barbara Smith Freedom to Write Award.  Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi accepted the award on Sotoudeh's behalf. A letter written by Sotoudeh's husband Reza Khandan was read to the crowd. It contained the following quotes:

"According to the current court ruling, and her situation, without any additional charges, she will be without a pen for nearly 4000 days."

"We will honor and record the day of March 17, 2011, in our history so that our children will remember the dedication and sacrifice of all those around the world for the freedom to write."

We honor her sacrifice and of others like her. Enjoy some of the following Iranian/Iranian-American writers:

Hamid Dabashi--He is professor of Iranian Studies & Comparative Literature at Columbia University and has written over 20 books.
Firoozeh Dumas--She is an Iranian-American most famous for her memoir Funny in Farsi.
Porochista Khakpour--A former arts & entertainment journalist, her first novel won the 77th California Book Award Prize.
Shahriyar Mandanipur--He is an award-winning novelist of Modern Persian literature and now a well know international writer.
Taghi Modarressi--He was a child psychiatrist and fiction writer who was married to novelist Anne Tyler for 34 years. He died in 1997.
Azar Nafisi--She is an academic whose bestselling book Reading Lolita in Tehran has been translated into 32 languages.
Shahrnush Parsipur--Many of her works have been banned in Iran and she was imprisoned multiple times.  She now lives in exile in the United States.
Marjane Satrapi--Most well known for her graphic novel Persepolis.
Mahbod Seraji--His first novel Rooftops of Tehran has been on multiple  notable booklists.

For more information: PEN American Center

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