More than 150 writers, coordinators, city officials, activists, experts and other guests from all parts of the world will arrive in Krakow on 14 May 2013 for the jointly organized biannual PEN International Writers in Prison Committee conference and the International Cities of Refuge Network Meeting. The event is hosted by the City of Krakow and Polish PEN, in connection to this year’s edition of the Milosz poetry festival.
Capacity building, expansion and promotion
The ICORN Network meeting is the main arena for strengthening the organisation and building our capacity to work for freedom of expression. It is a platform for the guest writers and city coordinators to meet, share experiences and exchange and develop new ideas; on future strategies for expansion, protection and promotion of the guest writers.
With frontline reports from writers and journalists, panel discussions, talks, workshops, screening and poetry readings, the programme of the joint event reflects an ambitious and comprehensive schedule. Together, PEN International WiPC and ICORN have created an arena where proponents and front figures in the fight for freedom of expression can meet, share knowledge and experiences and sow the seeds for enhanced collaborations and new alliances.
Among the special guests is historian and author Timothy Garton Ash, who will give the opening speech Free Speech in a Crowded World. William Echikson, Head of Free Expression Policy and PR in Google, will make an intervention about Free Expression and the Internet as the backdrop for further discussion, as the Tactical Tech team later provides information and training on digital security. Also, Sidd Joaq, Director of FreeDimensional will present a Creative Safe Haven Advo-Kit to support writers and artists forced into exile and the actors/cities hosting them.
Xpress Freedom! - Poetry, music and performance at night
As part of the poetry festival, on Wednesday evening, guests are welcomed to a night of poetry, music and performance at the Alchemia Club, featuring Chenjerai Hove (Zimbabwe), Basem al-Nabriss (Palestine), Easterine Kire (Nagaland), Sjón (Iceland), Manal al-Sheikh (Iraq), Noufel Bouzeboudja (Algeria), Naimeh Sanaye (Iran), Mazen Maarouf (Palestine), Mansur Rajih (Yemen), accompanied by the renowned Polish jazz band High Definition.
ICORN and PEN International WiPC
ICORN international cities of refuge network is an independent, international membership organisation, established to offer persecuted writers a safe haven where they can write and express themselves freely, without fear of being censored or silenced. Beginning in Europe in 2006, now more than 40 cities and regions around the world have joined together in ICORN, offering shelter to persecuted writers from Europe, Africa, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia. The network is growing and welcoming new member cities from around the world. Cooperating with sister networks world wide, our aim is to make a real difference in the on-going global struggle for freedom of expression.
The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International works on behalf of persecuted writers worldwide. It was established in 1960 in response to increasing attempts to silence voices of dissent by imprisoning writers and journalists. The Committee currently monitors the cases of 700-900 writers annually.
ICORN works closely with International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee. When applications from writers are received and screened by the Administration, they are sent on to the Writers in Prison Committee for a full evaluation. Many PEN centres around the world manages the city's City of Refuge engagement.