Farewell, Asmara

Aaron Berhane was a beloved leader of our centre’s Writers in Exile community and a valued member of PEN Canada’s Board of Directors before his untimely death, due to Covid-19, in May 2021. He fled Eritrea in 2002, following a draconian crackdown on the independent press. The following extract from his posthumously published memoir The Burden of Exile: A Banned Journalist’s Flight from Dictatorship, recounts his early days hiding from government agents in Asmara. 

Q&A with Fareh Malik — New Voices Award winner

Fareh Malik is a spoken word poet from Hamilton, Ontario and the winner of the 2022 RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award. His new book Streams that Lead Somewhere is available from Mawenzi Press. In its citation the New Voices Award jury praised Malik’s “tenderness and throat-grabbing use of imagery” and his “wide range of voices and tones to convey a nuanced spectrum of emotions and a laser sharp critique of Canada’s blatant and covert systemic racism.”

Seeking Justice for Dawit Isaak

Dawit Isaak and his colleagues are the longest detained journalists in the world today.  September 23, 2022 will mark 21 years of detention. Their cases and causes are not only heartbreaking and egregiously unjust, but emblematic of the global assault on media freedom by authoritarian regimes, which continues to intensify under the cover of a global pandemic of impunity.