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.
As a supplement to this exciting series, on April 23 Helge 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.