At the end of May 2023, Gothenburg ICORN City of Refuge welcomed Saiful Baten Tito as its ICORN resident for the next two years. Saiful Baten Tito is a writer, journalist, and voice actor from Bangladesh and is Gothenburg's eighth ICORN resident. His writing has largely focused on the impact of religious fundamentalism on society, women’s rights, and child abuse. As a voice actor, Tito has narrated stories and plays.
As an open atheist who addresses taboo issues in Bangladeshi society, Saiful Baten Tito was regularly subjected to digital and physical attacks by Islamic fundamentalists and the authorities. His novel Bishfonra (2019), telling the story of an orphan boy who was sexually abused at a madrassa caused controversy and was banned by the Bangladeshi government for ‘causing religious offence and a threat to national security’. Bishfonra is based on reality and Tito’s investigative work on child rape in Bangladeshi Islamic religious schools.
Alongside his novel, Tito has published regular newspaper colours and two short story collections Clinical Liar (2018) and Jater Namey Bojjati (2019). As a voice actor, Tito has narrated stories and plays, including the book Confession of Satan, by the Bangladeshi philosopher Aroz Ali Matubbor, which is regarded blasphemous by Islam.
Saiful Baten Tito also runs a YouTube channel where he reports and conducts interviews on the same issues. You can access Tito’s YouTube Channel here. You can also keep up to date with his work on his Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.
For the next two years of his ICORN residency, Saiful Baten Tito will continue his journalistic, literary, and acting careers from safety, addressing both existing audiences in Bangladesh and new ones in Sweden. Tito also plans on continuing his education and is already learning Swedish. You can read Tito's ICORN resident profile here.
Gotheburg ICORN City of Refuge
Starting in 1995, Gotheburg was the first city in Sweden to host persecuted writers and journalists. Today, Gothenburg ICORN City of Refuge is managed by the City of Gothenburg’s Cultural Affairs Administration and with support from the Västra Götaland county, which is also a member region of ICORN.
As well as Saiful Baten Tito, Gothenburg has hosted seven other ICORN residents, including writer and journalist Azmad Azzam, rapper and activist Khaled Harara, and investigative journalist, writer, and Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich.