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Dissidence: Exiled Writers on Resistance and Risk

Friday, September 23, 2022 at 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Goldwin Smith Hall, G64
232 East Ave, Central Campus

Poet Dmitry Bykov was nearly killed in a poisoning, then found himself banned from teaching at Russian universities. Essayist Pwaangulongii Dauod received death threats for writing about queer culture in his native Nigeria. Cartoonist Pedro X. Molina watched as Nicaraguan state forces jailed his colleagues and occupied the offices of the newspaper where he published his work. Novelist Anouar Rahmani was threatened with imprisonment for writing about human and environmental rights in Algeria. 

All four were forced to flee their homelands, and all four were able to resume their creative work in “cities of asylum” in the United States. 

“DISSIDENCE: Exiled Writers on Resistance and Risk” is supported by a grant from Cornell University’s Migrations Global Grand Challenge and the Mellon Foundation’s Just Futures Initiative. The event is also supported by CIVIC. The Migrations Initiative, part of Global Cornell, studies the movement of all living things through an interdisciplinary, multispecies lens, with a special focus on themes of racism, dispossession, and migration.

About the writers

Dmitry Bykov (Ithaca City of Asylum) is one of Russia’s best-known public intellectuals. He spent five days in a coma after falling ill during a speaking tour in 2019. An independent investigation blamed Russian security forces for poisoning him with the nerve agent Novichok. In addition to prohibiting him from teaching at the university level, the government has also barred him from appearing on state radio or TV. Bykov is currently a visiting critic at Cornell University and a fellow of the Open Society University Network.

Pwaangulongii Dauod (City of Asylum Detroit) is a novelist, essayist, and memoirist from Nigeria. His 2016 essay in Granta, “Africa’s Future Has No Space for Stupid Black Men,” sparked a national conversation about queer issues in Nigeria and provoked threats to his life. Woke Africa Magazine named him one of the “Best African Writers of the New Generation.” He is currently an Artist Protection Fund Fellow in residence at Wayne State University.

Pedro X. Molina (Ithaca City of Asylum) is a political cartoonist who fled Nicaragua during a crackdown on dissent in 2018. He was an International Writer in Residence at Ithaca College and was an Artist Protection Fund Fellow in residence at Cornell University. Among his many honors is a 2021 Gabo Award, a 2019 Maria Moors Cabot Award from Columbia Journalism School, and the 2018 Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award from Cartoonists Rights Network International.

Anouar Rahmani (City of Asylum Pittsburgh) is a novelist, journalist, and human rights defender from Algeria. He has faced legal harassment for his advocacy for individual freedom, environmental rights, and the rights of minorities, women, and LGBTQ+ people. In 2021, he was shortlisted for the Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards. He is currently an Artist Protection Fund Fellow in residence at Carnegie Mellon University.

Each writer will present an 8-10 minute reading followed by a moderated Q&A session.

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