The international campaign in solidarity with jailed Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji gathered pace this week, with the announcement by PEN America that he will be honoured with the “Freedom to Write” award at the organisation’s annual Literary Gala on May 16. Suzanne Nossel, PEN America’s Executive Director said that Naji’s case was an example of wide repression of creativity and free expression in Egypt:
Naji’s case is emblematic of Egypt’s escalating crackdown on artistic freedom in flagrant disregard for its own constitutional protections and at the expense of the country’s rich cultural traditions, PEN hopes that this award will spur writers, readers, advocates, and world leaders to press Egypt to release Naji immediately and to stop treating creativity as a crime.”
The UK-based magazine Literary Review also features Naji this month in its “Silenced Voices” column by Lucy Popescu. The magazine urges its readers to add their support to an international statement of solidarity with Naji, published online by Egypt Solidarity Initiative as the counterpart to a letter signed by 500 prominent Egyptian writers, poets and film-makers calling for Naji’s release. Academics, journalists and writers are among the dozens of signatories already published.
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