15 Nov

Day of the Imprisoned Writer

18:00 — 20:00
Burns Room, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP

This event is kindly sponsored by Mike Russell MSP and is brought to you by Scottish PEN and Amnesty International.

15 November is the international Day of the Imprisoned Writer and in the Scottish Parliament we will stand in solidarity with writers across the world who have been attacked and persecuted for speaking out.

At the Scottish Parliament on 15 November we are bringing together leading Scottish writers and journalists to read work of writers from countries including ChinaRussiaTurkey and Eritrea who have been threatened, imprisoned, or attacked for expressing themselves. By reading the work that regimes have tried to silence, we are opposing censorship, and standing in solidarity with our brave colleagues around the world.

In a year where we have seen further erosion of free expression across the globe; unprecedented arrests of writers, journalists and academics in Turkey, including Amnesty International staff members; and the tragic deaths of Liu Xiaobo, Irina RatushinskayaGauri Lankesh, and Daphne Caruana Galiziaamong many others, we need to stand alongside people speaking out and call for their protection wherever they may be.

Readers include:

Regi Claire – Regi is a Swiss-born novelist and short story writer based in Edinburgh. She has twice been shortlisted for a Saltire Scottish Book of the Year award and longlisted for MIND Book of the Year and the Edge Hill Prize for best collection. Her work has appeared in Best British Short Stories and numerous other anthologies and literary journals in the UK, Europe, Australia and the USA. She is a former Royal Literary Fund Lector and RLF Fellow.

Jo Clifford – Jo has just been performing her latest (and 91st) play Eve at the Traverse during the Edinburgh Fringe in a production by the National Theatre of Scotland. Her Gospel According to Jesus Queen of Heaven is currently touring Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. Earlier this year, the Saltire Society and the Glasgow Women’s Library inducted her as one of the 2017 Outstanding Women of Scotland. She is currently adapting The Taming of the Shrew for the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff and writing a new play for the Royal Exchange in Manchester.

Ever Dundas – Ever is a writer specialising in the weird and macabre, with Queer Theory (problematizing the ‘normal’) forming the backbone of her work. Ever writes literary fiction, sci-fi, horror, and fantasy after gaining a Creative Writing Masters with Distinction from Edinburgh Napier University in 2011, and a First Class Degree in Psychology and Sociology from Queen Margaret University. She has had several short stories published and her work has been shortlisted for awards. Ever is currently working on her second novel, HellSans, a science fiction thriller. Her latest novel, Goblin has been shortlisted for the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award.

Sepideh Jodeyri – Sepideh is an Iranian poet, literary critic, translator and journalist, who has published several works, including five poetry collections, a collection of short stories and an anthology of her poems. She has also translated poetry books by Edgar Allan Poe and Jorge Luis Borges as well as the graphic novel, Blue Is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh into Persian. Sepideh was forced to leave Iran in 2009, and currently lives in exile in Washington DC, the United States.

Robert Somynne – Robert is a foreign policy writer and observer of Scottish politics. He focuses on UK, EU and Russian policy in the Persian Gulf. He has written and participated in podcasts for the Guardian, The National, The Intercept, New Arab as well as think tanks such as The Atlantic council.

Suria Tei – (Chiew-Siah Tei) is a novelist, essayist, screenwriter and playwright. She was born and raised in Tampin, a small town in southern Malaysia. In 2002, she left for Scotland to pursue a doctorate in creative writing and film studies, and has been living in the country since. A chance participation in BBC’s Migration Screenwriting programme led to the writing of her first screenplay, Night Swimmer, and the completed film won Best Short Film at Vendome International Film Festival. She has since had two novels published, Little Hut of Leaping Fishes(Picador, 2008) and The Mouse Deer Kingdom (Picador 2013). She is currently working on a collection of personal essays, to be published in 2018.

We will also be joined by Abdulrahman Ezz – an Egyptian journalist now living in the UK – who will talk about the dangers of being a journalist in Egypt, his experiences at Tahrir Square and afterwards while imprisoned by the state; and how journalism and writing can challenge power, inform the public, and empower others to share their stories.