ICORN, the International Cities of Refuge Network, is an independent, international organisation of member cities offering long term refuge for persecuted writers. As of mid-2010, ICORN has 31 member cities in Europe and beyond, inviting persecuted writers to dwell in a safe haven where they can write and express themselves freely without fear of being censored or silenced.
Any persecuted writer (being it novelists, non-fiction writers, playwrights, poets, editors, translators, publishers, journalists or cartoonists) can apply for placement in an ICORN member city. The applications are reviewed by International PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee in accordance with the criteria of the ICORN Charter. It is the task of the ICORN Administration Centre based in Stavanger, Norway, to look for placement for the qualified writer applicant in an ICORN member city.
ICORN is working together with its guest writers and its member cities to promote the writers and their work in multiple ways and through diverse channels. The ICORN member cities of Barcelona, Brussels, Frankfurt, Norwich, Stavanger and Stockholm are from 2008 to 2012 running an EU Culture 2007 project titled Shahrazad – stories for life, bringing new, diverse and challenging stories from all over the world into Europe.
The ICORN Council of Writers and Experts (ICWE), assist ICORN and its member cities in representing the network to the world. The current ICWE members (Horacio Castellanos Moya, Shirin Ebadi, Nadine Gordimer, David Grossman, Amin Maalouf, John Ralston Saul and Ilija Trojanow) are ambassadors-at-large for ICORN and its writers in various forums and platforms.
ICORN is an open, flexible and participatory organisation, connecting its member cities and guest writers in a global network of solidarity, creativity and mutual interaction. The organisation is growing and welcoming new member cities around the world. Cooperating with sister networks world wide, our aim is to make a real difference in the ongoing global struggle for freedom of expression.
The challenge is to find the words with which to counter the visions of purity harboured by the propagators of terror. Ola Larsmo on the recent spate of terrorist acts in Sweden and Norway, culminating in the massacre in Oslo and Utøya on 22 July.