Al-Sheikh, Maarouf

Al-Sheikh, Maarouf

The Guild’s commitment to spotlighting divergent voices extends beyond the borders of Chicago in Voices of Protest. On April 25 and 26, the Guild brings Manal Al-Sheikh (Iraq) and Mazen Maarouf (Palestine)—two authors exiled from their home countries and now living in Scandinavia—to participate in conversations, film screenings, and readings with a focus on human rights, freedom of speech, and the ways literature celebrates life and inspires social change.

As part of this program, two short documentary films on Al-Sheikh and Maarouf will be screened. The segments are part of Poets of Protest, an Al Jazeera produced series by British filmmaker Roxana Vilk. The series focuses on six Middle Eastern authors and the relationship of their work to initiatives for democracy and social justice across the Middle East. Screenings will be followed by readings from Al-Sheikh and Maarouf.

Helge Lunde

Helge Lunde

As a supplement to this exciting series, on April 23Helge Lunde—Executive Director of the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN)—will be giving a lecture entitled Safe, But Not Silent at Silk Road Rising’s Chicago Temple Building to discuss the significant work his organization performs to aid writers facing political threats and persecution. Both Manal Al-Sheikh and Mazen Maarouf benefited from the services of ICORN. As part of his address, Mr. Lunde will invite Chicago to become an International City of Refuge.

 AND  Voices of Protest: Home Edition: 03/12/2015 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

In September 2014, the Guild Literary Complex sent five Chicago writers to the 2014 Kapittel International Festival of Literature and Freedom of Speech in Stavanger, Norway. NOW, for the first time since their return, the authors will give a special reading of creative work inspired by the trip and lead a community dialogue on free speech issues. Voices of Protest: Home Edition will take place on Thursday, March 12, 7:00 p.m., and is co-presented with 826CHI at 1276 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago. The program is open to the public and free of charge. Donations will be accepted.

Participating authors include: Adam Gottlieb, L’Oréal Patrice Jackson, Sahar Mustafah, Erika L. Sánchez, and M. Quinn Stifler. Each emerging writer was chosen to participate in Voices of Protest due to their professional practices integrating art and activism, which includes work on gender, race, women’s rights, peace initiatives, and other issues.

Voices of Protest programs are supported in part by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund, and in a continued partnership with the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN).

Click here for Facebook RSVP!

See below for information on authors and partners!

For more information on the 2014 Kapittel festival, click here.

For more information on previous Voices of Protest programs, click here.



Adam GAdam Gottlieb is a poet/teaching-artist from Chicago. He got into spoken word at age 14 via the Young Chicago Authors teen poetry slam festival Louder Than a Bomb, and was featured in the documentary film by the same name. He recently graduated from Hampshire College, where he studied poetry and critical pedagogy. He seeks to promote the use of poetry as a medium for dialogue, self-expression, and positive social change.

Loreal-headshotL’Oréal Patrice Jackson is an artist rooted in theatre, music, movement and writing. As an arts educator she teaches theatre performance, improvisation, storytelling, and multi-disciplinary art. She has worked with Steppenwolf, Writers Theatre, and Columbia College Chicago, among others. Before recently relocating to California, she served as a youth leader for Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a lay Buddhist organization dedicated to peace culture and education, and she was the Education Associate at About Face Theatre, a production company with a focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and ally arts.

Bio Photo Sahar MustafahSahar Mustafah writes about “the others”—Arabs in the United States and abroad—who are often deemed strange and disparate from the larger racial community. Her work has appeared in anthologies and journals including Great Lakes ReviewWord RiotFlyleaf, Hair Trigger, and Chicago Literati, and she’s performed with 2nd Story Chicago. She’s the recipient of a Pushcart nomination. She is a teacher and co-founder of Bird’s Thumb, an online literary journal devoted to new and emerging voices. She received her MFA from Columbia College Chicago.

Erika-L-Sanchez_headshotErika L. Sánchez is a Fulbright Scholar, CantoMundo Fellow, and winner of the “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Pleiades, Witness, Anti-, Hunger Mountain, Crab Orchard Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Copper Nickel, Boston Review, “Latino USA” on NPR, and is forthcoming in diode and Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation (Penguin 2015). Her nonfiction appears in The GuardianAl Jazeera, Rolling Stone, Salon, NBC News, Cosmopolitan, and many others.

QuinnM. Quinn Stifler received a B.A. in Creative Writing and Women’s & Gender Studies at DePaul University. Stifler has worked with Threshold, DePaul’s student-run literature and arts journal, and is a co-founder and editor of No Assholes Literary Magazine. Stifler was a finalist for the 2013 Gwendolyn Brooks Open-Mic Poetry Award, and regularly participates in and organizes house readings around Chicago.