Autodafe 1: The Journal of the International Parliament of Writers
Autodafe is a collection of reports, interviews, correspondence, narratives, and stories from around the world. The review aims to be a place for debate and experimentation, a place where writers silenced by censorship join voices with world-renowned writers. The contributors are all members of the International Parliament of Writers; the pieces are original to Autodafe. The journal's common themes are the reflection of social and political realities of the world, censorship, the interdict of language, and the effects of globalization, among others.
This first volume is divided into four parts: The Book of Prohibitions, Geography of Exile, Chronicles of Love and War, and Borders, Outlaws. It contains new writings from twenty-nine leading authors from around the world including Rogelio Saunders Chile on "cultural suffocation" in Cuba, Russell Banks on the role of the writer, fiction by Sierra Leone's Syl Cheney Coker, Jacques Derrida on displaced literatures, Mehmed Uzun on "The Kurdish Renaissance in Exile," and Gao Er Tai's "On the Obligation to Smile in Chinese Work Camps."
Since 1993, the International Parliament of Writers has been working for creative freedoms and protected working environments for writers around the world. As IPW secretary general Christian Salmon describes in his introduction, the first six months of 1993 saw more than 1000 writers persecuted, murdered, or imprisoned. After the 1993 assassination of Algerian writer Abdel Kader Alloula, Salmon, Assia Djebar and others stormed a Stockholm television station during a literary conference and vowed to do more than disseminate yet another written protest. The Parliament was formed as a human rights organization that would create awareness of writers living in oppressed circumstances and offer them something concrete—asylum in a location where they were free to express themselves. Under its past presidents Wole Soyinka and Salman Rushdie and newly named president Russell Banks, the IPW is expanding its Cities of Asylum network. Cities in the network are prevalent in Western Europe and are growing in Latin America, Africa, and the United States. The first North American city to join the network and offer asylum is Las Vegas.