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. 

The Burden of Exile

Aaron Berhane, an award-winning journalist and publisher, is the recipient of the 2019 PEN Canada-Humber College Writers-in-Exile Scholarship and acting Chair of PEN Canada’s Writers in Exile Committee. He was …

On Eritrea’s Future

On January 6, 2015, 6 Eritrean journalists were released on bail after being imprisoned in 2009, when the government conducted a raid on journalists. Brendan de Caires interviewed Eritrean journalist and member of the PEN Writers in Exile Committee Aaron Berhane about the release and the implications for the country’s future.