San Miguel PEN

San Miguel PEN’s coordinator for Make Space is Nicholas Patricca. He has developed an initiative called Chicago City of Refuge (FB webpage: Chicago City of Refuge) which offers refugee writers a variety of resources to assist them in creating, developing, publishing, and distributing their works.

This initiative is a project of the Chicago Network (www.chicagonetworkjp) and is co-sponsored by the Loyola University Ann Ida Gannon Center for Women and Leadership and San Miguel PEN. Currently, this initiative enjoys the endorsement of several Chicago area arts and community organizations and as well as the support of over 100 writers, artists, and activists.

The Chicago City of Refuge was launched on 19 February 2017 in a program featuring presentations by Unoma Azuah, in exile from Nigeria because of her writings on human sexuality and freedom for women, and Osama Alomar, in exile from Syria because of his writings on human rights and dignity and his work for freedom of expression. This launch met with extraordinary support from the public and from the media and was followed by an equally successful event on 09 April 2017 focusing on Syrian writers in exile living and working in the Chicago area.

On 15 October 2017, Chicago City of Refuge, in collaboration with Danny Postel (The Syria Dilemma, MIT Press 2013) assistant director of MENA at Northwestern University, with SMA PEN and with the Gannon Center, will present a conversation by Wendy Pearlman of Northwestern University and Lucina Kathmann of PEN on refugee writers with a special focus on women writers.

Chicago City of Refuge initiative concentrates on networking, not on fund-raising. We connect people and organizations to achieve our goals and the goals of the writers we support.