Aslı Erdoğan and Svetlana Alexievich have both experienced harsh clampdown on freedom of expression in their respective home countries, resulting in censorship and harassment – and at the end, exile.
The unwomanly face of Russia
An investigative journalist and prose writer, Alexievich’s books document the emotional history of the Soviet and post-Soviet people. Meticulous and honest in her portrayal of real life and people living under harsh conditions, throughout her carreer, Alexievich has had to face persecution. She went in exile in 2000 and stayed as a guest writer in Toscana and Gothenburg, before she returned to Belorussia in 2011.
On Monday 19 October, she spoke for an audience of more than 1000 people at the auditorium of the Jagellonian University, under the title “The unwomanly face of Russia”.
Aslı Erdoğan on the conditions of exile
Aslı Erdoğan is a journalist, columnist and an author. She has treated controversial topics as state violence, discrimination and human rights and been a human rights activist since 1993. As a result, she has been persecuted in a variety of ways, lost her job more than once, subjected to a lynch campaign and has had to live in exile for several years. Currently she is ICORN writer in Krakow.
On Friday 23 October at 3 pm, Aslı Erdoğan will share her experiences of her participation as a fellow in the ICORN programme, finding refuge in the city of Krakow.
Krakow city of refuge
Krakow was the first city in Central and Eastern Europe to join ICORN, and provides ICORN writers with a safe place for continued creative and literary activity at Villa Decius, which for many years has been an important place of residence and reflection on human rights and freedom of speech for writers. This is done in collaboration with the Krakow Festival Office and the City of Krakow. The Head of the Villa Decius Association, Danuta Glondys, was recently elected a new member of the ICORN network’s board, and international cooperation within the ICORN has a strategic position in the Krakow UNESCO’s City of Literature.
The Conrad Festival
Since its beginning, the Joseph Conrad International Literature Festival has fought the stereotype of literature as an unnecessary addition to life and as useless luxury in a country that slowly heads for prosperity. Against the Current means the inclusion of literature in the essential repertoire of our needs and a dialogue about what goes beyond the “here and now” of the journalistic perspective rather than information hastily provided by dailies. It means that we feed more imagination, more freedom and more non-obviousness into our blood circulation system. It means more food for our brains.