CHICAGO -- In collaboration with International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) and PEN International, the Chicago Network for Justice and Peace and the Guild Literary Complex announce the launch of the CHICAGO CITY OF REFUGE project for exiled writers.

The launch will be celebrated at 1 p.m. Sunday 19 February 2017, at a special event at Loyola University Chicago, Lake Shore Campus, in Piper Hall, under the sponsorship of the Ann Ida Gannon Center for Women and Leadership, 970 W. Sheridan Rd, East Rogers Park, Chicago, IL 60660.

Exiled writers are forced from their homelands because of persecutions and imprisonments, threatened with torture or death. Living in extreme jeopardy for the nonviolent expression of their opinions and the practice of their art, they have chosen to make Chicago their new home where they can live, work, and write in freedom and dignity. ICORN cities world-wide have hosted over 170 persecuted writers.

The CHICAGO CITY OF REFUGE project assists writers in exile with:
→ developing and promoting their works,
→ establishing and fostering links with writers and other artists,
→ contributing to the vital cultural life of various institutions and organizations in greater Chicago.

The Sunday 19 February 2017 program features 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. (Their brief biographies are appended.)

The CHICAGO CITY OF REFUGE project enjoys the support of the following individuals: Ian Brennan, Writer (Glee and Scream Queens); Philip Dawkins, Playwright (Charm, Failure, The Homosexuals); Chay Yew, Artistic Director, Victory Gardens; Ricardo Gutierrez, Artistic Director, Teatro Vista; Jamil Khoury, Artistic Director, and Malik Gillani, Silk Road Rising; Michael J. Garanzini, SJ, Chancellor, Loyola University Chicago; Sandy Shinner, Artistic Director, Shattered Globe Theater; Aparna Sen Yeldandi, Commissioner, Cook County Commission on Women's Issues; Ricardo Estrada, President, Metropolitan Family Services; Rev. John T. Richardson, C.M., Chancellor, DePaul University Chicago; Henry Reese, Pittsburgh City of Asylum; Jennifer Clement, President, PEN International; Helge Lunde, Executive Director, ICORN; Janet Sisler, Executive Director, Gannon Center, Loyola University Chicago, and many notable others.
To set up interviews with Unoma Azuah or Osama Alomar and for additional information, please contact: Lisa Wagner, Executive Director of the Guild Literary Complex, 877.394.5061 OR Nick Patricca, President, Chicago Network, 773.338.9416