The town of Porsgrunn committed to protecting and promoting free expression, democracy, and human rights through its decision to become a member of ICORN, becoming the 25th City of Refuge in Norway.
Upon signing the ICORN Membership Agreement, the Mayor of Porsgrunn Janicke Andreassen said:
‘This agreement shows that Porsgrunn takes an active position in the fight for freedom of expression.’
Located in Telemark County, Porsgrunn is a historically important harbour and market town, and the birthplace and home of many public intellectuals and artists. Through its status as an ICORN City of Refuge, Porsgrunn will soon host and support the work of writers, artists, and journalists at risk.
While it is Porsgrunn Municipality that is the official member of ICORN, it is Porsgrunn Library that will host and manage the ICORN residency. Maria Guribye, the Director of Porsgrunn Library said:
‘Libraries in Norway have been given a special responsibility to be an arena for freedom of expression. It is therefore natural that Porsgrunn library has a central role in arranging and receiving our first free city author. The hope is that the person in question will be in place before the autumn.’
Writer, activist, and former ICORN resident in Larvik, Wesam Almadani from Palestine read their new poem on the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Maria Guibye read the Norwegian translation.