“PEN Canada has been my window onto Canada. As part of its educational programming, PEN Canada introduced me to students and teachers in high schools and colleges where I could talk about my experiences as a journalist in Iraq and a newcomer to this country. PEN invited me to participate in public events. It would have been difficult to have access to these opportunities otherwise. PEN Canada was just the link that I needed in order to make it in this country.”
- Ayub Nuri was born in 1979 in the Kurdish town of Halabja in northern Iraq. He was the Baghdad correspondent for London-based Global Radio News, covering the Iraq war in 2003, and the subsequent insurgency and sectarian violence. He reported from Iraq for Public Radio International/PRI and BBC World Service. He is a writer in residence at George Brown College.
PEN Canada’s Writers in Exile Program was created to provide solidarity and support for writers, journalists, poets, editors, translators, essayists and playwrights who have been forced to leave countries in which their freedom of expression was not protected.
PEN Canada welcomes writers who have recently arrived in Canada and/or who have recently become active as writers. In general, PEN resources are focused primarily on those writers who are not yet Canadian citizens. There may, however, be exceptions.
Writers in exile are encouraged to apply to become part of the Writers in Exile network. (See application form on this website).
Members of PEN are willing to accompany a writer in exile to his/her refugee hearing and to provide supportive documentation when necessary and when possible.
PEN members are also willing to act as mentors for newly arrived or newly active writers in order to provide advice about possibilities and problems they will face as writers in Canada. PEN includes not only writers but also journalists, producers, screenwriters, translators, etc.
PEN Canada has worked with some educational institutions to provide residencies that will give newly arrived or newly active writers the financial and institutional support to work on various projects. These residencies are a wonderful opportunity but are few in number at the moment. Each writer in exile is eligible for one residency. Members of the Writers in Exile network will be notified of various residencies as they become available. The final selection for these residencies resides with the sponsoring institution.
PEN Canada invites writers in exile to participate in various literary and social events and to make their particular contribution to PEN and to the country.
Writers in Exile dinners
The Writers in Exile network meets periodically at Romero House Centre (1558 Bloor St. West) for potluck dinners and wide ranging conversations on topics of mutual concern. All members of the network, and their supporters, are welcome. Since these are potluck dinners, please bring something to eat/drink.
6:30 p.m., Tuesday, November 13, 2012
6:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 15, 2013
6:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 16, 2013