Lucy Popescu

freedom to write, review, travel…

Another Sky

41bsOYt7xmL._SX315_BO1,204,203,200_Another Sky: Voices of Conscience from Around the World

This collection,  featuring the work of writers that PEN has helped over the last 40 years, include pieces by Aung San Suu Kyi, Orhan Pamuk and an extract from the last (unpublished) work of the Nigerian dissident Ken Saro-Wiwa, which he wrote a week before his execution in 1995. Shedding much-needed light on the world’s darkest regimes, other unpublished work gives accounts of life in countries from Syria and Saudi Arabia to Cuba and Cameroon. And to reflect truthfully the work that PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee undertakes today, the anthology also features writing from those who have suffered for new forms of communication – for example, those punished by restrictive regimes in countries such as China and for cyberdissent, the new samizdat, on the internet.

Reviews

writers-under-siege2Another Sky/Writers Under Siege edited by Lucy Popescu and Carole Seymour-Jones

PEN acts as the voice and conscience of everyone who cares about literature. In telling their stories, the incredible writers in this collection uncover some of the world as darker corners. This extraordinary book shows us once again why literature matters. Antonia Fraser

I defy readers not to be profoundly moved by this splendid anthology. But I have no doubt they will also be stirred by the extraordinary courage of all these writers to triumph over injustice and cruelty. This book is an inspiration. Ronald Harwood

Engrossing. Reza Baraheni’s piece is simply electric and others, such as Ken Saro-Wiwa’s letters, deeply moving. More than anything the collection stands as a testament of courage and a clarion call to recognize free expression for what it really is — a basic human right.Monica Ali

This anthology is essential reading for anyone who has ever been moved by the written word. The authors of these pieces have one thing in common. They have all been coerced into not writing. This means that not only do they have powerful stories to tell, but that when, thanks very often to the work of organisations like PEN, they are eventually allowed to tell them, the result is spare, powerful writing, which jolts and challenges our prejudices and assumptions. Michael Palin

From Publishers Weekly: To mark 85 years of work assuring that oppressed writers are heard in their home countries and around the world, the literary and human rights organization PEN presents a collection of essays from some 50 writers; their one common trait, as noted by Michael Palin in a blurb, is that “they have all been coerced into not writing.” Designed to demonstrate the major ways in which writers are silenced, shocking and sobering lessons in author suppression are broken up into sections on prison, death and exile, though the distinction seems arbitrary; the central theme of oppression weighs much more heavily on writers’ stories than the specific methods employed. It’s important, both thematically and practically, to note that PEN does not differentiate between the talents and skills of persecuted writers; as such, not every piece succeeds, and the similarity of the subject matter can make them difficult to distinguish. But grace notes abound, such as Zimbabwean poet, novelist and columnist Chenjerai Hove explaining, “every new word and metaphor I create is a little muscle in the act of pushing the dictatorship away.” As an act of commemoration, as well as a sobering reminder of a world in which writers are frequently-and all too easily-silenced, this is an exceptional anthology.

 

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