Palestinian poet and journalist Mazen Maarouf officially has become Reykjavik's first ICORN guest writer. Reykjavik was welcomed as an ICORN City of Refuge last month during the Frankfurt Book Fair. Maarouf has been living in Iceland since September and is enjoying the country's safety and hospitality.
Mazen Maarouf was born in Lebanon, but the region in which he lived was seized by Israel, forcing his family to move to Palestine. Maarouf is a strong advocate of pacifism and his outspoken views against regimes that use violence created a dangerous situation for him. He received death threats after reporting on the death of a fellow journalist three years ago; he had been very afraid for his own life until ICORN was able to place him in Iceland this Autumn.
Maarouf is pleased with how warm and welcoming everyone has been to him since his arrival in Reykjavik. Currently he is working on a book and helping to foster greater cultural ties between the Middle East and Iceland. He is also committed to promoting Icelandic literature in his homeland as a way of giving back to the country that has offered him a safe haven.