Thursday, October 21, 2010
creators helping creators
(photo courtesy PEN Canada)
Last night I attended the PEN Canada benefit kicking off Toronto's International Festival of Authors. The event featured American novelist Richard Ford in conversation with CBC's Eleanor Wachtel. Ford spoke candidly about his childhood in the American south and about his discomfort with the surrounding racial tensions and who he felt himself becoming in that social milieu.
At the end of his talk, Ford thanked PEN for the "important work it does for the world, unbeknownst to most of the world."
The evening featured an empty chair on the stage, symbolizing the absence of Iranian-Canadian writer, blogger and freedom of expression activist Hossein Derakhshan who is currently serving a 19 year sentence in an Iranian prison. Mr. Derakhshan was arrested in Tehran while visiting relatives. His persecution is in response to his work as a blogger and outspoken critic of the Iranian government.
I urge everyone to visit the PEN Canada website, and help spread the word about Mr. Derakhshan's plight.
Posted by John at 12:29 PM