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Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Mousavi in Iran. Photo: © Mohammad Sadegh Yarhamidi

ICORN & PEN in Partnership

The International City of Refuge Network (ICORN) has long been one of PEN International's most important partners.

ICORN is an independent organisation of cities and regions offering shelter to writers and artists at risk, advancing freedom of expression, defending democratic values and promoting international solidarity. The Protection team at PEN International's headquarters in London collaborate closely with ICORN on their work with writers applying to join the programme, and many of our Centres support and help to host their local guest writer.

ICORN member cities offer long term, but temporary, shelter to those at risk as a direct consequence of their creative activities. Their aim is to be able to host as many persecuted writers and artists as possible in ICORN cities and together with sister networks and organisations, to form a dynamic and sustainable global network for freedom of expression.

Throughout the Make Space campaign, PEN International will be working with ICORN to promote the work of guest writers past and present, as well as creating professional creative opportunities for them. What's more, we will work with our PEN Centres around the world to co-explore the potential of new ICORN cities twinned with PEN Centres, and supported by our membership.

The Make Space campaign's launch event is taking place at 'In Other Words', PEN International and ICORN's biennial joint conference, held this year in Lillehammer, Norway.