Salman Rushdie and colleagues in the International Parliament of Writers founded ICORN’s predecessor INCA (International Cities of Asylum) in 1995, in the backdrop of the fatwa placed under Salman Rushdie by the Supreme Leader of Iran in 1989. The fatwa still stands, and today, 26 years later, the Iranian Ministry of Culture cancels its participation at the Frankfurt Book Fair because of Rushdie’s presence at the opening press conference on 13 October.
The Director of the Book Fair states that they regret the Iranian ministry’s decision, but underlines that to them, “freedom of expression is non-negotiable”.
Article Telegraph: Iran boycotts Frankfurt Book Fair over Salman Rushdie invite
When Salman Rushdie in 1989 was placed under the fatwa (religious edict) that called for his killing because of his novel The Satanic Verses, he was forced into hiding, and the British government immediately placed Rushdie under police protection.
Most writers and artists around the world facing harassment from repressive authorities and persecutors do not have protection from the authorities or means to stay safe in their home countries. That is why ICORN was established in 2005 to continue and develop Salman Rushdie’s initiative. Since then, ICORN Cities of Refuge have hosted more than 130 persecuted writers and artists.
The Frankfurt Book Fair has been a partner of the City of Refuge programme from the beginning, and each year ICORN writers are engaged, in debates and lectures, enlightening us on their works, the literary scene of their home countries, the conditions of freedom of speech, the conditions of living in exile and much more.
This year is no exception. Meet four of them at the Frankfurt Book Fair on Friday 16 October at two events: The Enigma of Arrival and Poetry in the City.
At Poetry in the City, you can meet Frankfurt’s new ICORN writer, Anzhelina Polonskaya (Russia): Poet, journalist, seven published volumes of poetry most recently: “Schwärzer als Weiss” and Blacker than White. And the previous ICORN writer in Frankfurt, Pegah Ahmadi (Iran/Germany): Poet, literary critic, several published volumes of poetry; ICORN author in Frankfurt am Main from 2009-2011. Now living in Cologne.
At The Enigma of Arrival, you can meet Parvin Ardalan (Iran): Women’s rights activist, journalist, writer, persecuted and detained in Iran, 2010 to 2012 ICORN writer in Malmö; Abdul Hakim Hashemi Hamidi (Afghanistan), writer, filmmaker, threatened in his country, since spring 2015 ICORN writer in Paris.
Programme Weltempfang - Center for Politics, Literature and Translantion
See below for full programme
Friday 16 October
The enigma of arrival
10.30-11.30 am, Stage
Many writers, artists and human rights activists left their countries because they were endangered or lacked freedom of expression. Some find refuge in temporary exile. The debate will focus on hopes and experiences, and the question: Have they really “arrived” in the city or country of refuge? With:
Parvin Ardalan (Iran) Women’s rights activist, journalist, writer, persecuted and detained in Iran, 2010to 2012 UCIRB wrutere ub Naknö.
Yamen Hussein (Syria), poet, journalist, since the end of 2014 scholarship by German PEN – Writers-in-Exile, lives in Munich.
Abdul Hakim Hashemi Hamidi (Afghanistan), writer, filmmaker, threatened in his country, since spring 2015 ICORN writer in Paris.
Chaired by Peter Ripken, ICORN/Litprom.
Poetry in the city
There is no lack of initiatives to bring poetry into citie. But how does that affect poets whose works are only accessible in translation? Does it need a special approach for them to reach as large an audience as possible? Two women poets who have lived in Frankfurt am Main as a city of refuge talk about their hopes and experiences, and read their poems in Russian and Farsi (translations will be read in German). With:
Anzhelina Polonskaya (Russia): Poet, journalist, seven published volumes of poetry most recently: “Schwärzer als Weiss” and Blacker than White.
Pegah Ahmadi (Iran/Germany), poet, literary critic, several published volumes of poetry; ICORN author in Frankfurt am Main from 2009-2011. Now living in Cologne.
Chaired by Peter Ripken, ICORN/Litprom.
The Frankfurt Book Fair
The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world’s largest book fair. This year's Fair takes place from October 14.-18. and has chosen the Indonesia as its guest of honour. The Weltempfang is a joint venture of the German Federal Foreign Office and the Frankfurt Book Fair. This year’s focus for the Weltempfang at the Frankfurt Book Fair is Exploring Boundaries.