PEN Freedom of Expression Award for ICAPA Director

Expressions beyond pages

ICAPA Trust Director, Ms Tsitsi Dangarembga, was awarded the 2021 PEN Award for Freedom of Expression for her advocacy for freedom of expression. The award, previously known as the Oxfam Novib/PEN International Award for Freedom of Expression, is annually conferred on writers and journalists in recognition of their significant contribution to freedom of expression despite the danger to their own lives. In July 2020, Dangarembga was arrested by the Zimbabwean Republic Police (ZRP) as she protested, carrying placards demanding the release of investigative journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono and better conditions for Zimbabweans.

The Award was announced during the Winternachten Festival’s Opening Night, 13 January 2021, which was live-streamed from the Netherlands. The award has been presented annually since 2005 to writers who have been persecuted for their work and who continue working for freedom of expression despite persecution. Previous winners include Ugandan academic, writer, and feminist activist Dr Stella Nyanzi (2020), Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, Nicaraguan author Gioconda Belli and Italian journalist Roberto Saviano (2019), as well as Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega and Venezuelan journalist Milagros Socorro (2018).

Tsitsi Dangarembga is a novelist and filmmaker, whose concern over the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe leads her to activism. Her latest novel, This Mournable Body was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize. She is also the founding member of PEN Zimbabwe.

Tsitsi Dangarembga speaks to PEN International about her work and activism in this this video: