Dareen Tatour is a Palestinian poet, photographer and social media activist from Reineh, an Arab town between Nazareth and Qana of Galilee. In her writings and photography, she breaks the silence on the conditions of Palestinians and uses her literary work to encourage Palestinian women to speak up against all forms of abuse and human rights violations.
Tatour has received several honours for her writings, for highlighting and standing up against repression of critical voices. She received the 2019 OXFAM Novib/PEN award for Freedom of Expression, in 2017 she was awarded the Danish Carl Scharenberg Prize, and in 2016, she was granted the online magazine, Maayan, prize for “Creativity in Struggle”.
But she has also had to pay a high price for exercising her right to freedom of expression. Following the publication of her poem Resist My People, Resist Them in 2015, and other social media posts, Tatour was convicted by an Israeli court for “Incitement to violence and terror” and “supporting a terrorist organization». She was sentenced to prison for 5 months and has been in and out of house arrest and court rooms for three years. Despite this, she continues to write and publish her work.
In their motivation for the 2019 Freedom of Speech Award, announced and accepted in July 2020, the Norwegian Writers’ Association states:
- Through her writing, Dareen Tatour gives voice to a minority in a conflict ridden region in the Middle East. (…) By using her literary voice under such demanding conditions, she gives hope to others who wishes to exercise their free speech through writing.
Tatour has published a book of poetry in 2010 with the title The Last Invasion. She has had several manuscripts confiscated and uses social media actively as a publishing channel. Despite imprisonment and being prevented from producing and publishing her books, Tatour never gave up. In July 2019, she published a novel entitled My Dangerous Poem, which she wrote in prison and documents everything that she went through during her arrest and detention.
Since her release from prison in 2018, Tatour has taken part in numerousevents world wide. She was a guest speaker at the CREA conference on violence against marginalized women. The same year, together with theatre artist Einat Weitzman, she wrote the play I, Dareen Tatour, directed by Nitzan Cohen and performed by Weitzman. This play has been shown at Tamu-na Theatre, Tel Aviv and the International Documentary Film Festival in Oslo in February 2019.
During the Kapittel Festival for Literature and Free Speech in Stavanger, Dareen Tatour will take part in a video-meeting, a conversation with Jan H. Landro from Norwegian PEN. She participates via video from her new residency in Sweden. The event is organised in cooperation with The Norwegian Writers' Association and Norwegian PEN.