Day of the Imprisoned Writer: Michael Redhill writes to Oleg Sentsov

By | November 15, 2018 at 11:44 am | No comments | Campaigns, News

For PEN’s 2018 Day of the Imprisoned Writer, we asked PEN members and supporters to send a message to a jailed writer. Michael Redhill is a poet, playwright and novelist whose novel Bellevue Square won the 2017 Giller Prize.

Ukrainian writer and filmmaker Oleg Sentsov is serving a 20-year prison sentence on spurious terrorism charges after a grossly unfair trial by a Russian military court, marred by allegations of torture. He is currently being held in the ‘Polar Bear’ penal colony of Labytnangi, in Siberia, thousands of kilometres away from his home and family in Crimea. He recently spent 145 days on hunger strike, calling for the release of all Ukrainian prisoners held in Russia on politically motivated grounds. He ended his strike on October 6, 2018 as he feared being force-fed.



Dear Oleg,

I spent all night thinking what I could say to you and missed my deadline, so perhaps this will be in a dead letter office. I know that in that place are many silenced voices, and it grieves me that they are trying to silence you. I’ve read how you’ve waged a hunger strike for the rights of others even as yours are curtailed, so it is obvious to all who bear witness to you that even your silence speaks. I’m only one of your free brother- and sister-authors, but many know of your plight and we all hope for your freedom.


Michael Redhill

Toronto, Canada

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