Dilan Qadir, Why I Support PEN

PEN Canada’s end-of-year campaign launched Tuesday, November 28 and runs until December 31.
To understand PEN Canada’s impact, we’re sharing testimonials from the PEN community. They are writers in exile, writers in peril, and emerging writers. They are teachers, novelists, journalists, activists, bloggers and poets. Dilan Qadir writes: 

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I am an Iraqi Kurd who has lived as an exile in Canada since 2014. Where I am from, fundamental freedoms are constantly threatened by the authorities, especially if you are a writer. When you can’t stay in your homeland, nor move ahead steadily in your adopted country, this tension creates space. A space that can be filled with despair or with hope.

Three months ago,  riding home on the bus in  Vancouver, where I live, I got a call from an unknown number. It was PEN Canada’s executive director — whom I’ve never met — calling to congratulate me for winning this year’s Writers-in-Exile Scholarship sponsored by PEN Canada and Humber College.

That’s one  example of how  PEN supports writers and journalists at home and abroad,  particularly those who have taken risks to defend and uphold  freedom of expression. The scope of PEN’s work goes beyond what a single letter can contain. I share this example to illustrate a crucial point, which is that PEN Canada operates with integrity. Its  programs and activities all underscore its mission: solidarity with persecuted voices and support for testimonies and stories from all over the world.

Please consider supporting PEN Canada this Giving Tuesday. Your contribution could change someone’s life.

Dilan Qadir

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Help us write a brighter future for writers in peril. Donate today.