Participants by Genre

Participants: Activist

1987
activist, fiction writer
Wizas PHIRI
1988
activist, children's author, fiction writer, non-fiction writer, translator
Jaroslav VEIS
1991
activist, children's author, fiction writer, poet
Jan VODNANSKY
THIDA MA
2005 Resident
activist, fiction writer, physician

MA THIDA (fiction writer, physician, activist; b. 1966, Burma) was in medical school when Burma’s military junta shut down the universities. She then served as a health care provider as well as an editor for the non-violent National League for Democracy. Her many short stories containing disguised criticism of the Burmese government led to six years in solitary confinement, without access to reading or writing materials. In 1999 she was pardoned and released on humanitarian grounds. She is now the editor of a youth magazine as well as a surgeon at the Muslim Free Hospital, which treats poor patients at no cost.

Albana SHALA
2010 Resident
activist, journalist, poet

Albana SHALA grew up in Albania, where she worked as editor before moving to the Netherlands in 1995. She now coordinates the media programs in Kosovo and in the Caucasus at the Press Now Foundation. Her work has appeared in journals and magazines in Albania, Kosovo, Austria and the Netherlands; she has performed at literary events in the Netherlands and Belgium. In 2008 her first poetry collection Papa Dixhital was awarded the Migjeni prize by the Ministry of Culture of Albania; a second collection, Paradise in Orange, is forthcoming. Her participation is privately funded.

ZAW, Cho Tu
2011 Resident
activist, filmmaker, poet

Cho Tu ZAW (novelist, filmmaker, poet, essayist, activist; Myanmar)after years of political organizing, has more than twenty screenwriting and directing credits, including [Another Lonely World] (2010), [The Lost] (2011) and, most recently, [Let's Make A Dialogue on Love] (2011). He is the author of the novels, [Some Used to Hate] (2006] and [Once Upon a Time in Ganges] (2010); his poems and articles have been featured in a number of magazines.

Nay Phone Latt
2012 Resident
activist, fiction writer, poet

Nay Phone LATT (poet, fiction writer; Burma) is the author of the City I dropped down a collection of stories written during his four-year imprisonment. A blogger and activist, he has received the Reporters Without Borders’ Cyber-dissident Award and the PEN American Freedom to Write Award; in 2010, he was listed among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He edits the online magazine (Thanlwinainmat), www.thanlwin.com, and is the executive director of the NGO, Myanmar ICT for Development Organization (MIDO), www.myanmarido.org. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. His blog in English is en.nayphonelatt.com.

Raed AL-JISHI
2015 Resident
activist, fiction writer, translator

Raed Anis Al-JISHI (poet, translator; Saudi Arabia) has published one novel, seven volumes of poems in Arabic and one, Bleeding Gull: Look, Feel, Fly, in English. Alongside a career as a writer, he teaches high school chemistry in his native city of Qateef. He is a feminist and human rights activist, and works on issues involving children and literacy. His participation is made possible by the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh.

 

 

2018 Resident
activist, scholar, translator

Rumena BUŽAROVSKA (fiction writer, editor, translator; Macedonia) has three books of fiction published and translated into several languages. Her story collection Mojot Maž, which won the Edo Budiša Award for Best Short Story Collection in 2016, will in 2019 appear from Dalkey Press as My Husband. A scholar, she is also an activist on behalf of marginalized populations in Macedonia. In 2016, Literary Europe Live named her one of Ten New Voices from Europe. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

2019 Resident
activist, editor, filmmaker, poet

ARAI Takako  新井 高子 (poetry; Japan) has published three poetry collections, including Tamashii dansu [Soul Dance] which won the 2008 Oguma Hideo Prize. Since 1998, she has been an editor for the poetry journal Mi’Te; she has also edited a volume of poems about, and is producing a film connected to, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan. The poetry volume Factory Girls is forthcoming in English. Arai teaches Japanese and poetry at Saitama University. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

2019 Resident
activist, fiction writer, journalist, non-fiction writer

Martha MUKAIWA (nonfiction, fiction, journalism; Namibia) is an arts and travel journalist, and activist for black Namibians, women, and the LGBTQIA+ community. She has written for The Namibian, Quartz, Matador Network, and The Africa Report, among other publications. She has also served as film juror for the Namibian Theatre and Film Awards, on panels providing grants to Namibia’s upcoming voices in the arts, and on UNESCO’s #JournalistsToo campaign. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

2019 Resident
activist, editor, filmmaker, non-fiction writer, performance artist, poet, translator

Roy Chicky ARAD  רועי צ'יקי ארד (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, performance; Israel) is an activist, musician/performer and writer, with eight published volumes of poetry and prose. He edits the poetry magazine Ma'ayan, translates, largely poetry, and writes for the daily Ha’aretz.  The Culture Guerilla group, which he co-founded, takes poetry into Israeli streets. He participates courtesy of Fulbright Israel.

2019 Resident
activist, fiction writer, non-fiction writer, poet

Samuel MENGHESTEAB ሳሙኤል መንግስትኣብ (fiction, nonfiction, drama, poetry; Eritrea) is the author of the Tigrigna story anthology Seb ziseanet seb, and a regular contributor to Tigrigna-language magazines. He teaches adult and youth theater and literary programs, and writes pop song lyrics. His participation is courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the U.S. Department of State.

2019 Resident
activist, fiction writer, journalist, non-fiction writer

THAWDA AYE LEI (fiction, nonfiction; Myanmar), a graduate of the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, is a journalist-turned-advocate. She is also the author of three novels and a story collection [The Borderless Cloud], and the founder of the online magazine Myat shu. Thawda Aye Lei's participation was made possible by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

Baksh_Guyana
2021 Resident
activist, children's author

Imam BAKSH (storyteller, children’s book writer, teacher; Guyana) is the author of two award-winning Young Adult novels, The Dark of the Sea and Children of the Spider. His children’s stories, too, have been frequently recognized; he has been a featured presenter at literary festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. An advocate for Guyanese Creole, he runs a literacy project and library for his community and owns and operates a kindergarten. His participation is made possible by the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown (Guyana).

Diana Del Angel
2021 Resident
activist, fiction writer, poet, scholar

Diana DEL ÁNGEL (fiction writer, journalist, poet, scholar, activist; Mexico) is the author of Vasija [Vessel] (2013), Procesos de la noche [Processes of the night] (2017) and Barranca [Ravine] (2018), as well as of critical writing in print and digital media; she has also translated poetry from the Nahuatl. A regular participant in contemporary poetry workshops in Mexico, she has been the recipient of fellowships and residencies in Mexico, USA, and Canada. Her participation is made possible by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the US Department of State. 

2021 Resident
activist, fiction writer, translator

Edwige DRO (translator, activist, writer; Côte d’Ivoire) is a co-founder of the collective Abidjan Lit and the founder of 1949, “a library of women’s writings from Africa and the black world.” She has facilitated, judged, and translated for many writing competitions, and coordinated the Francophone program of Writivism in Uganda. Her stories and essays, published in magazines like Popula, This is Africa and the Johannesburg Review of Books, have been widely anthologized. She participates courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire).

Happening Now

  • To mark PEN International’s centennial, Words Without Borders has published a sampler of works by writers committed to freedom of expression. Algerian novelist and scholar Med MAGANI is among them.

  • A fall harvest of book reviews coming in: of The Others by Sarah BLAU (translated from the Hebrew by Daniella Zamir); of LO Yi-Chin’s Farewell, translated from the Chinese by Jeremy TIANG; of Véronique TADJO’s In the Company of Men

  • A fascinating interview with IWP’s Senior Advisor, professor Peter Nazareth, retired from UI’s English Department in spring 2021, after nearly five decades of teaching.

  • Word reaches us that poet HU Xudong  胡续冬, who also taught comparative and world literatures at Peking University (Beida), specializing in Latin American literatures, passed away unexpectedly. RIP, Hu Xudong…

  • We note with sadness the passing of Hiroshi SAKAGAMI 坂上 弘, whose long novelistic career garnered him major literary and cultural honors. A former president of the Japan Writers’ Association, he was until his retirement also the director of Keio University Press.

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