Narges Mohammadi, Iranian activist, wins Nobel Peace Prize

PEN Canada celebrates the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to jailed Iranian writer and human rights activist Narges Mohammadi for “her fight against the oppression of women in Iran, and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all.” Ms Mohammadi is currently serving a ten-year sentence in a Tehran prison after repeated arrests since 2009.

“Narges Mohammadi has fought for women’s rights in Iran with heroic strength and courage and at great personal cost,” said Grace Westcott, President of PEN Canada. “The Nobel Peace Prize recognizes not only her inspiring courage but that of all the women and girls of Iran who have risen up to demand their freedoms.”

An honorary member of PEN Canada since June 2023, Mohammadi has been widely recognized for her unstinting courage in defence of women’s rights. She is one of three imprisoned Iranian women to receive the 2023 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize and a recipient of PEN America’s 2023 Barbey Freedom to Write Award. 

Mohammadi wrote to us from prison a few weeks ago, to participate in our reading event at TIFA in support of imperiled writers around the world. In the note she spoke of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement and said:

“My message is one of hope, vitality, and love of life. For me, life is the perseverance and fortification of our struggles until we achieve democracy, freedom, and equality. I am certain of our victory and equally certain of the religious dictatorship’s disintegration, collapse, and eventual demise. Rest assured that your support, people who love freedom of expression, and that of the wider world, will accelerate this process.”

These are rousing words from behind bars to all of us.