PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Awards

On April 2nd 2003, PEN American Center named Bernado Arévalo Padrón, an independent journalist serving a 6-year prison term for calling attention to rights violations in Cuba, and Zouhair Yahyaoui, a Tunisian internet activist whose popular electronic magazine earned him a 2-year prison term, as recipients of its 2003 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Awards. The awards, which honour international literary figures who have been persecuted or imprisoned for exercising or defending the right to freedom of expression, will be presented at American PEN’s Annual Gala on April 22nd at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.

PEN American Center Executive Director Michael Roberts praised the creativity and sacrifice of the two recipients. “The heroism of this year’s PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award recipients begins in a shared determination to write about the state of human rights in their respective countries, but it goes much further. Both Bernardo Arévalo Padrón in Cuba and Zouhair Yahyaoui in Tunisia had to create the means to disseminate the information they gathered… their success in circumventing existing restrictions has cost them dearly: they have become examples of the very limitations on dissent that they set out to publicize.”

Thirty-three men and women have received the award since 1987; 21 of the 25 honorees who were in prison at the time they were honoured were subsequently released.

Bernardo Arévalo Padrón and Zouhair Yahyaoui have both been elected Honorary members of English PEN.  Click on the links below to  find out more information:

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