Ibn Rushd Prize 2015 announced in Prison Literature
They go to prison, and they write … on walls, on toilet paper, cigarette scraps, on the margins of books and notes that they smuggle out of their cell. They write as self-expression, self-liberation and self-determination, to preserve their own identity, and for survival, and they write for others, as the voice of the oppressed, as protest and resistance. The results are true testimonies, impressive literary works, letters, autobiographies, poems and novels.
In the Arab world, prison literature occupies a significant position as a popular literary genre. Never before in history have there been so many intellectuals who were imprisoned for political reasons than today.
There are numerous examples of prison literature thoughout the ages all over the world – even in the West …. such as Rosa Luxemburg’s secret letters or Nelson Mandela’s autobiography « Long Walk to Freedom », a great part of which was written during his imprisonment, to name just a few.
The Arab world has an abundance of prison literature throughout the ages. The writings of famous poets like Abu al-Atahiya, Abu Firas al-Hamdani or the great mystic al-Hallaj are amongst the most well known.
But never in history have there been so many intellectuals who were imprisoned and persecuted for expressing their thoughts as in the modern age. Many literary works revolve around prison for example the autobiography of the famous author and critic Latifa az-Zayyat, Abd ar-Rahman Munif’s novel « East of the Mediterranean », Ahmed Fouad Negm’s poems and many works by Muhammed al-Maghout. There are even examples of writers who have learned to read and write first time in prison such as Mohamed Choukri.
A large part of the Arabic prison literature is Palestinian poetry. Most Palestinian poets have at some point in their life been in Israeli prisons. With the continuing Zionist occupation poets of resistance played a major role in the development of revolutionary consciousness and deepening of national feeling and a Palestinian identity, like Mahmoud Darwish and Samih al-Qasim.
Despite facing several forms of persecution like physical and mental torture, these writers and poets could not be silenced. They became symbols of peaceful resistance and remained free despite captivity.
The Ibn Rushd Prize 2015 announced:
Author of a work of prison literature (novels, poetry, non-fiction or autobiography) which stimulates a broad public debate on the situation of political prisoners, showing oppression and violation of human rights and demanding the right for liberty and human dignity in the Arab world.
Any person may nominate a candidate (other than him- or herself and the dead). The candidate’s immediate sphere of activity should be the Arab World.
An independent jury will select the winner of the Ibn Rushd Prize for 2015 from amongst the nominees.
The prize, which includes 2500 Euro award, is financed exclusively by the Ibn Rushd Fund members’ fees and donations.
Please complete the nomination form on our website including a justification and a short biography of the candidate. Submit these data via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by post or fax to the address below. Nominations may be written in Arabic, German, French, or English. The deadline for nominations is April 27th, 2015.
Previous winners of the Ibn Rushd Prize
The Ibn Rushd Prize will be presented in a public ceremony at the end of November 2015 in Berlin.
Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought
Tel. +49 (0) 30 296 06 85
Fax +49 (0) 30 32664-72
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