Tuesday Nov. 15: Defending Artistic Freedom After the Attack on Salman Rushdie

Defending Artistic Freedom After the Attack on Salman Rushdie

When: Tuesday, November 15, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM, Eastern Time (USA)

Where:  Palmer Commons on the University of Michigan campus, a 15 minute walk from the law school (Palmer Commons address: 100 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2218 Palmer Commons | Welcome to Palmer Commons (umich.edu))

Link to event page with link for zoom registration: https://ii.umich.edu/humanrights/news-events/all-events.detail.html/98508-21796731.html

More about the event: 

On August 12, acclaimed writer Salman Rushdie was to address a crowd at the Chautauqua Institution about safe havens for at-risk writers, when he was stabbed multiple times. While Mr. Rushdie thankfully survived, he experienced severe injuries, after facing years of threats since the 1989 fatwa against his book “The Satanic Verses” by Iran’s then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. What will be the impact of this brutal act of violence against a writer on efforts to defend the human right to freedom of artistic expression around the world? What kinds of threats are artists facing globally as they practice their crafts – practice essential to the cultural rights of all? What kind of self-censorship do these pressures foster, especially around controversial issues such as religion? What strategies can cultural rights defenders use to support artists like Salman Rushdie, and all the Rushdies around the world?

Moderated by: Karima Bennoune, Lewis M. Simes Professor of Law, Michigan Law School

Panelists:

Julie Trébault, Director, Artists at Risk Connection
Julie Trébault is the director of the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), a project of PEN America that aims to safeguard the right to artistic freedom by connecting threatened artists to support, building a global network of resources for artists at risk, and forging ties between arts and human rights organizations. She has nearly two decades of experience in international arts programming and network-building, including at the Museum of the City of New York, the Center for Architecture, the National Museum of Ethnology in The Netherlands, and the Musée du quai Branly in Paris.


Salil Tripathi, Board member, PEN International, and former chair, PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee

Salil Tripathi was born in Bombay and lives in New York. He chaired PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee from 2015 to 2021 and is a member of its board. Between 2009 and 2013, he was on the board of English PEN. His honors include the Red Ink Award from the Mumbai Press Club in 2015 for human rights journalism and the third prize at the Bastiat Awards for Journalism in New York in 2011, among others. His journalism has appeared in major publications worldwide and he has been a correspondent in India and Southeast Asia. Offence: The Hindu Case, about the rise of Hindu nationalism and its implications on free expression, was his first book. His other books include The Colonel Who Would Not Repent: The Bangladesh War and its Unquiet Legacy (Aleph, 2014, Yale, 2016), and Detours: Songs of the Open Road, (Tranquebar, 2015). His most recent work is For In Your Tongue I Cannot Fit: Encounters with Prison, which he co-edited with the artist Shilpa Gupta. He is currently writing a book about Gujaratis, which Aleph will publish. Salil studied at the New Era School and Sydenham College in Bombay, and has an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College in the United States.


Ahmed Naji, writer, journalist, documentary filmmaker, Fellow at the Black Mountain Institute, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Ahmed Naji is a writer, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and criminal. His Using Life (2014) made him the only writer in Egyptian history to have been sent to prison for offending public morality. (Mr. Rushdie corresponded with him while he was imprisoned.) His book Rotten Evidence chronicles his time in prison, which is due out in September (2023) with McSweeney’s. Other published novels in Arabic are Tigers, Uninvited (2020), and The happy end (2022) Naji has won several prizes, including a Dubai Press Club Award, a PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, and an Open Eye Award. He is currently a fellow at the Black Mountain Institute in UNLV. He now lives in exile in Las Vegas, where his writing continues to delight and provoke. For more about his work: https://ahmednaji.net/