Bestill besøk av ICORNs fribyforfattere


Kontakt: Anne Berit Helland, Bergen Offentlige Bibliotek
Tlf. 55 56 85 02 / Mob. 91 51 39 63

Ayaz Khonsyawashan
Guest Writer, Bergen City of Refuge 2007 - 2009

The Kurdish poet and journalist from Iran has contributed to several Kurdish and Persian journals of literature, politics, arts and culture. Khonsyawashan became a member of the Mariwan Committee on Literature in 1991. Three years later he published the only journal using the Kurdish language in Iran at that time. Before having to flee to Iraq due to persecution based on his cultural and political activities, he took part in the founding, running, and editing of several cultural journals. From 2003 until 2007, he lived in Turkey, where he was a founding member of the Writers Union of Eastern Kurdistan, of which he is still a board member. He was initially invited as an ICORN Guest Writer by Oslo City of Refuge, but was not granted permission to leave Turkey. He was eventually invited to Bergen City of Refuge in 2007. Khonsyawashan has also written a novel, he is working on translating his poems into Norwegian, and he is actively working to help other persecuted writers.


Kontakt: Jan Olav Szontheimer, kultursjef
Tlf. 71 11 10 82

Gilles Dossou-Gouin
Guest Writer, Molde City of Refuge 2007–2009

Gilles Dossou-Gouin was born in Benin and identifies himself as belonging to the ethnic group Fon. He studied the humanities, theology and philosophy as a Séminariste among the Catholic monks. He also attended the International School of Detectives and Experts.

His first novel, published in 1996 was entitled God's Symbolism and the Imaginary . The book was a critical, socio-political satire and received nation-wide attention. In 1997 the controversy surrounding it forced Gilles Dossou-Gouin to flee to Senegal, where he lived in exile. His second novel The Black Cry of the Negro was published in 2003 with the help of UNESCO. Gilles Dossou-Gouin is an activist and writes articles to promote Human Rights, and the Rights of Women and Children.


Kontakt: Heidi Grytten, Deichmanske bibliotek

Philo Ikonya

Philo Ikonya is a Kenyan writer, journalist and human rights activist, and currently Oslo City of Refuge's Guest Writer. Africa and Kenya within the context of power, women, freedom of expression and other rights concern Ikonya greatly. Her forthcoming novels "Kenya, Will You Marry Me?" and "Leading the Night" express these themes, as does her anthology of poems in English and German "Out of Prison: Love Songs". Philo Ikonya recently released "This Bread of Peace", a book of poetry published by Lapwing, in Ireland, and we are happy to present our readers with this portrait interview.


Soudabeh Alishahi
Fribyforfatter, Oslo (2001–2003)

Soudabeh Alishahi var Oslos første fribyforfatter. Hun er født 1954 i Abadan, Iran, er gift og har tre barn. Alishahi er utdannet lærer og har undervist på den videregående skolen i Teheran. Alishahi har flere ganger opplevd å bli trakassert, truet og arrestert. Hennes første novellesamling Blå og rød kom ut i 1999. Den inneholder ni noveller som alle handler om kvinner som lever i Iran, eller som har utvandret til andre land. Det dreier seg om kvinners livsforhold, om deres problemer, lengsler og deres smerte, og om deres opplevelse av en verden der menn bestemmer og hvor kvinners følelser, integritet og menneskeverd ikke blir respektert. Det er en engasjert, men lavmælt bok om kvinneskjebner både før, under og etter revolusjonen. Boken ble av mange oppfattet som kritisk overfor de rådende religiøse normer og konvensjoner i Iran. To av Alishahis senere bøker, en novellesamling og en roman, ble stoppet av sensuren i Iran. I 2002 fikk Alishahi oversatt til norsk og utgitt noen noveller hun hadde med seg fra Iran. Boka, Midtveis: noveller fra Iran (Cappelen) høstet gode kritikker, og Alishahi har gjestet en rekke litteraturfestivaler og bokarrangementer her i landet. Alishahi har fortsatt skrivingen og bor fremdeles i Oslo.


Kontakt: Marianne Hovdan
Tlf. 51 50 74 65 / Mob. 959 47 469


Mansur Rajih
Poet Mansur Rajih was the second ICORN Guest Writer in Stavanger City of Refuge, where he arrived in 1998 after spending 15 years in prison in Yemen. This year, the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of International PEN, an important ICORN ally, celebrates 50 years of defending freedom of expression around the world with a year-long campaign - Because Writers Speak their Minds . As part of this campaign, the Committee looks back on 50 emblematic cases illustrating where and how and why they have worked. One case on this list is the case of Mansur Rajih , this summer's featured writer, and we are happy to present an interview and a collection of his poetry here at



Chenjerai Hove
Guest Writer, Miami City of Refuge 2010–2012
Guest Writer. Stavanger City of Refuge 2005–2007

Chenjerai Hove writes poems and novels in both English and Shona. He was a senior literary editor with Zimbabwe Publishing House and has worked as a journalist. Hove studied literature and education in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He was president of the Zimbabwe Writers Union from 1984 to 1989, President of PEN Zimbabwe from 1990 to 2007, and a founding member of the Board of Directors of Zimbabwe Human Rights Association from 1990 to 2000. His novel Bones has won several international awards and was voted among the 100 Best Books of Africa in the last 100 years in 2002, and among the 10 Best Books of Zimbabwe in the last 100 years in 2003. His novel Ancestors won Second Prize from the Zimbabwe Literary Awards in 1997. In 2001, Hove was awarded the German-Africa Prize for Freedom of Expression and Thought. As a result of his criticism of Mugabe's current policy, he now lives in exile. Hove has later helped others to gain from his experiences as the Writers' Representative of the ICORN Advisory Group.

In 2009, Hove co-edited Writers, Writing on Conflict in Africa with Okey Ndibe. To read Chenjerai Hove's short story "Sacrifice", go here . To read "A Letter to my Mother", go here , and for an extended biography go here . You can also listen to Chenjerai Hove read "Changamire" in his native tongue Shona here .



Manal Al-Sheikh 
Guest Writer, Stavanger City of Refuge 2009–2011 

Poet from Iraq. Al-Sheikh has been a very active participant in the Arab Union of Writers since 1993, and has published collections of her own poetry as well as editing an anthology of modern Iraqi poetry.  Manal Al-Sheikh is from Nineveh in northern Iraq, and has a degree in English translation from the College of Arts at Mosul University. Her first book, Inhirafut-tawabeet (The Deviation of Coffins), was published by the Iraqi Union of Writers in Nineveh in 1996. In 2007, she edited and published Umaraur-ruaa (Princes of Imaginative Visions), an anthology of modern Iraqi poetry, and published Assfar Alo’zlah (Books of Seclusion) in Egypt in 2008 and in 2009 Belnokta elhamraa tahta eynhi elyousrah (With a red dot under his left eye).



Mansour Koushan
Guest Writer, Stavanger City of Refuge 2000–2002 

Mansour Koushan comes from Iran where he worked as a theater producer/director, television screenwriter and novelist. He was forced to flee his homeland along with a whole generation of artists. Since moving to Norway, Mansur Koushan has been the artist director of a free theatre group and published his novels in Norway and Sweden. In 2010 he was awarded the prestigious Norwegian PEN's Ossietzky Prize for an outstanding effort in promoting freedom of expression.


Kontakt: Easterine Kire
Tlf: 77790929


Jahangir Alam Akash
Guest writer, Tromsø City of Refuge 2011–present 

Jahangir Alam Akash is a journalist from Bangladesh, who has worked for newspapers, radio- and tv channels in his home country. He has reported on human rights issues sush as Islamic militancy and extra-judicial killings and women's rights. Akash has been a front figure in Bengali human rights organizations like Justice Foundation, Bangladesh Institute for Human Rights and Taskforce Against Torture. He has published several books and has received awards for his human rights work as well as for his journalistic literature. Akash was harassed, arrested unlawfully and tortured in prison. This forced him to leave Bangladesh, by the help of Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders. He is the editor of the website Euro Bangla .


Easterine Kire
Guest Writer, Tromsø City of Refuge 2005–2007

Easterine Kire is an author and lecturer in English literature who has been forced to flee her home in Nagaland. As someone who, despite her non-violent principles, found herself caught between the Indian government and the Nagaland separatist movement, she has had to live in exile since 2005. In addition to her writing, Easterine Kire is also an active storyteller, who often includes musical elements in her presentations. Read her extended bio here.