Writing Today: Between Sanctuary and Freedom

Ann Naila Zahin (source: www.icorn.org)
Ann Naila Zahin (source: www.icorn.org)

Institutional Communication Service

9 November 2017

What does it mean to be young and wanting to write about culture or civil rights in times of great instability, where great changes are occurring? To what extent do the new media offer greater protection than traditional media? These are the themes that will be tackled in the two events open to the public with Naila Zahin Ana, a very young Bengali blogger who recently found refuge in Iceland.

The events are organised by the PEN Swiss Italian and Reto-Romansch Center, in cooperation with USI Faculty of Communication Sciences and Franklin University Switzerland (FUS), in conjunction with the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, established in 1981 by PEN International.


  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 5:30pm

Writing Today: Between Sanctuary and Freedom

Franklin University Switzerland, Nielsen Auditorium, Sorengo

(in English)


  • Monday, November 20, 2017, at 6pm

Blog e diritti umani: dal Bangladesh a Reykjavik

Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), Room A11 (Red building), Lugano campus

(in English; Italian translation available)


Both events are open to the public and entrance is free.


Naila Zahin Ana

Writer and blogger from Bangladesh, Naila Zahin Ana is an ICORN (the International Cities of Refuge Network) resident of Reykjavík (Iceland) since May 2017. Deeply committed in defending civil and human rights, she began writing on "Somewhereinblog", the largest Bangla-language blog, at the age of 15. In 2013, she took part in the Shahbag Square uprising and began using the blog as a mean of exhortation to civil engagement and communication during protests. 

Her writing focuses on gender equality, religious freedom and freedom of speech and religious fundamentalism. Naila also writes about the issue of distance and displacement and is a film critic.  

Her participation in the protest and her writings on religion caused her to be expelled from the university and excluded from official blogs. Although five of her fellow bloggers were killed, Naila kept writing her personal blog. Only when the threats became concrete, she left Bangladesh for the first time and found refuge in a protected place. She plans to continue writing from Reykjavík for the next two years.


PEN International – Swiss Italian and Reto-Romansch Center

PEN International – Swiss Italian and Reto-Romansch Center is the PEN International Swiss chapter for the Italian and Reto-Romansch languages. It is an apolitical international association of writers, journalists, essayist and publishers, whose aim is to promote freedom of expression, oppose all forms of oppression of intellectual freedom, and foster contacts between writers from different countries.  Established in London in 1921, the association counts centres in more than 100 countries, three of which are in Switzerland. Each year the Swiss Italian and Reto-Roamnsch Center commemorates with the other PEN Centers worldwide the Day of the Imprisoned Writer to raise awareness on unjust imprisonments and other forms of attack against writers from all countries.


For more information or interviews:

Maria Emilia Arioli, [email protected] , +41 79 669 85 04

The events is possible thanks to the substantial contribution of the Fondazione Pica-Alfieri.