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 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. The award comes with a $5,000 cash prize and, a possible two-week residency in Prague, prepared in partnership with the Vaclav Havel Library.

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

Deadline for nominations: March 31, 2021

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 movement around the world.

Previous winners of the Disturbing the Peace Award for a Courageous Writer at Risk:
2020: Angel Santiesteban Prats (Cuba)
2019: Asli Erdogan (Turkey)
2018: Liao Yiwu (China)
2017: Burhan Sönmez (Turkey)
2016: Ma Thida (Myanmar)

Contact: Pavla Niklova, info@havelcenter.org