The Vaclav Havel Library Foundation is soliciting nominations for the 2020 Disturbing the Peace Award to a Creative Writer at Risk. The annual award recognizes writers of distinguished works of fiction, literary nonfiction, biography, memoire, drama, or poetry who are courageous in dissent and have suffered unjust persecution for their beliefs. The award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize, helps protect awardees with the shield of international attention while enriching public understanding of the power of the written word to preserve and promote humanity’s highest ideals.

We encourage institutions and individuals to nominate non-journalist creative writers from any country who have produced distinguished bodies of work, have advocated on behalf of human rights, and have suffered unjust persecution for their beliefs. At least one of the nominee’s work must be available in English. Nominations must be accompanied by a short biography outlining the nominee’s literary achievement and record of dissent, a bibliography of his or her works, and a statement expressing the reasons for the nomination.

Deadline for nominations: March 31, 2020

Vaclav Havel was a Czech playwright who led resistance to Czechoslovakia’s communist regime and later was elected first president of democratic Czechoslovakia (later, the Czech Republic). In addition to popular plays, Havel was an author of Charter 77, the manifesto of the Czechoslovak dissident movement. Under the communists, he was arrested and sentenced to more than four years in prison for alleged anti-state activities. Along with Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, Havel is ranked among the most inspiring figures of the twentieth century. His seminal essay, The Power of the Powerless, has had a profound impact on dissident and human rights movements in Eastern Europe and around the world.

Previous winners of the Disturbing the Peace Award for a Courageous Writer at Risk:

2019: Asli Erdogan (Turkey)
2018: Liao Yiwu (China)
2017: Burhan Sönmez (Turkey)
2016: Ma Thida (Myanmar)

Contact: info@havelcenter.org, +1 (212) 988-1733

The Vaclav Havel Center