Edinburgh Book Festival: acclaimed writers stand in solidarity with survivors
In his work, Write to Life member Aso, who is from Iraq, likes to "show the conflict between peace and human suffering in one line, then work and work on this line until [he] finds real beauty".
Read an extract from his work below...
Letter from a Dead Mother
You are running;
Running without stopping;
Over the iron fences;
Running without shoes;
Over spent shells;
Over ground strewn with bullets;
Over pools of blood.
No-one can stop you;
You run as though someone was after you;
You run without looking back;
Running to an unknown place;
You can run, but you can't
escape the battlefields;
Life is a battlefield;
You are the son of battle;
You are a child of war;
Running, forever running.
On the weekend of 11/12 August, a host of critically-acclaimed authors convened at the Edinburgh International Book Festival to read from works penned by torture survivors who have been supported by Freedom from Torture. The event formed part of Amnesty International's Imprisoned Writers Series, which seeks to give authors an opportunity to stand in solidarity with survivors.
The collection of short stories and poems that were performed by famous literary figures highlighted both the long-lasting physical and psychological impact of torture and the often harrowing reality of life in the UK for asylum seekers and refugees.
Watch (at 5'36") the celebrated debut novelist, Anna Raverat, read 'The Second Torture' by John – a survivor supported by Freedom from Torture in the North East – in which he describes the trauma of navigating the asylum process.
Over the weekend, world renowned authors read works from a number of Freedom from Torture clients. These included Booker prize nominated Michèle Robert; former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience Maajid Nawaz; winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Gerbrand Bakker; foreign correspondent Peter Popham; award-winning novelist Toni Davidson; recipient of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel Sarah Hall; and bestselling novelist Sally Gardner.