What is it about?

In many countries authors are threatened, tortured or even killed. For these persecuted writers we would like to establish a writers-in-exile programme in Switzerland. Give us a boost!

At the time more than 800 authors are subject to governmental repression worldwide. This because they engaged themselves politically. Russia, Iran, Mexico, China, and Turkey are the countries most often mentioned. By establishing a writers-in-exile programme we would like to provide for people writing against social ills a place where they can temporarily find their peace.  

There are already organisations which run such programmes. Numerous cities already offer shelter to persecuted writers. Together they establish an important international network. Switzerland isn’t a member of this network.  

What can we do?

  • We establish a «Writers-in-Exile» programme for Switzerland.
  • We can give a persecuted writer an apartment in Switzerland for the period of at least one year. Our guest is going to receive a scholarship covering his or her running costs.
  • We can support our stipendiaries in their daily problems and offer them the possibility to get to know the literary scene of Switzerland.
  • As an organisation we are going to join the international cities of refuge network, called ICORN, thus closing the existing gap.

Where do we stand?

ICORN already assured us its support. But our project has just started. How are we going to finance the scholarship? Where will the apartment be situated? What Swiss city will join in to become a city of refuge?

Also PEN international will back us up by delivering valuable data for the assessment process. The Case List which is published semi-annually is an important tool.

What can you do?

The Swiss German PEN centre usually works in an honorary capacity. A professional project development as it is intended for this project is beyond the means of the association. We have to do research work, we have to develop a convincing dossier, we have to find the funding, we have to write hundreds of letters and do even more interviews. The CHF 6’000 are used for this purpose. This is what we need your support for.

Give us a boost! Show us with your share that you think it’s time to do something for persecuted writers. Switzerland needs a writers-in-exile programme!

The initiators

Melinda Nadj Abonji, Adi Blum and Ulrike Ulrich are the initiators of this writers-in-exile programme for Switzerland. They work as a project group for the Swiss German PEN centre.