"Let us be loud enough that he hears us."
"Your voice matters."
"Fayadh was jailed in January 2014, charged based on a complaint from a reader about Fayadh's 2008 poetry collection, 'Instructions Within'."
"[T]he penalty imposed on Mr. al-Ajami is disproportionate and amounts to political censorship to art and expression."
Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh has now gone more than a year without trial in Saudi prisons on the ostensible charge that he's been "insulting the Godly self" through his poetry "and having long hair."
Novelist and poet Omar Hazek was jailed on December 2, 2013, charged with violating Egypt's anti-protest law, a "crime" for which he is serving two years in prison. Yet he maintains more hope than most.
Yesterday was PEN's "Day of the Imprisoned Writer," and they recognized five imprisoned writers. Today we remember five others.
Morocco-based writer and educator Nahrain Al-Mousawi explores the development -- and future -- of Arabic prison literature.
Often, we contemporary English-language readers look to authors as our world's moral compasses. Sometimes it works, and they lead us true. Great authors speak some sort of truth, at least about their particular obsessions. But mediocre, good, even great authors -- Knut Hamsun usually comes to mind -- sometimes follow their compass into ugliness.
This month, Omar Hazek will see his second novel published. Under other circumstances, Hazek's short novel, set in the afterlife, would likely go unnoticed outside Egypt's narrow literary circles. Yet this novel has captured attention - not because of its unusual setting, but because it was written inside Alexandria's Borg al-Arab and al-Hadara prisons.
American University in Cairo CAASIC fellow Anny Gaul is currently translating a section from Omar Hazek's novel "I Don't Love This City." Meanwhile, the author -- whose case has been taken up by PEN International -- remains in prison.
Italian journalist Vittoria Volgare talked with the Libyan short-story writer Omar al-Kikli, whose work has appeared in English translation Banipal and Jadaliyya about al-Kikli's 2012 prison memoir, Sijniyat, a testament to the years he spent in Ghaddafi's prisons.