Virtual Writer in Residence: Omar Hazek

Help to secure writer and campaigner for freedom of expression Omar Hazek as Nottingham Festival of Literature’s Virtual Writer in Residence.


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Raised for Omar Hazek's Virtual Writer Residency

Omar Hazek has published two novels, and poetry in English and Arabic. He has used his writing and poetry to protest against his own, but also many others’ deprivation of freedom.

His fight against corruption in his country has led to further oppression; in 2013 Omar was sentenced to two years’ in prison for ‘protesting without permission’ in support of the family of a man who was beaten to death whilst in police custody.

During his imprisonment he was adopted by PEN International as an Honorary Member of Austrian PEN and Danish PEN, the organisation supports persecuted writers from around the world. A year after his release he was awarded the PEN International and Oxfam Novib Award for Freedom of Expression.

Omar was refused permission to travel to the Netherlands to accept the award. He was detained at Cairo airport, questioned, and later released, but banned from travelling.

In association with English PEN, Nottingham Festival of Literature want to welcome Omar as their Virtual Writer in Residence, to welcome him to the city even though he cannot travel here.

Thank you to everyone who supported our project, details of events with Omar will be announced shortly.


Thank you to the following backers:

Aly Stoneman, Andrew Taylor, BooksandJohn, Chris McLoughlin, David Belbin, Gillian Roberts, James Walker, Jez Noond, Leah Wilkins, Marcia Lynx Qualey, Matthew Welton, Mimi Khalvati, Philipa Coughlan, Roxie Ablett, Ruth Kemp, Steven Dove, Sue Dymoke, and four anonymous backers.