Syrian journalist wins British PenPinter literary award

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Syrian journalist and author, Samar Yazbek, was chosen to share this year's Pen/Pinter literary award with British winner poet Carol Ann Duffy as the international writer of courage.

Samar Yazbek was being recognized for her book “A Woman in the Crossfire” which is an account of the revolution from inside Syria and her vocal opposition to the Assad regime.

Yazbek insists though that while grateful of the honor, she does not see it as a personal accolade.

“This award is dedicated to the martyrs of the Syrian revolution and to all the women who work silently under the circumstances dodging bullets, artillery and fighter jets fire to continue the revolution of the Syrian people for the establishment of free and democratic society,” she said.

The compelling personal diaries of a woman’s journey through the first 100 days of the Syrian revolution caught the attention of this years’ winner poet Carrol Ann Duffy who chose Yazbek out of six other international writers to share her prize.

“I have chosen Samar Yazbek for her literary skill that made her so well known in Syria as novelist and a journalist. I have chosen her because of her bravery in writing about her opposition to the appalling bloody vile Assad regime when she is already such a prominent figure in Syria,” Carrol Ann Duffy said.

On honoring Yazbek, Lady Antonia Frazer, Harold Pinter’s widow commented that her late husband would have been delighted, as he believed strongly in the writers who spoke out. “She is a person of immense courage and all great writers who have been young writers once upon time; they happen to always have such terrible experiences. It is the courage that matter and that is the quality she has,” she added.

Yazbek’s outspoken views against the Syrian regime led to her persecution and harassment by the security services. Later she was denounced by her family and her Alawite clan. Eventually she was forced to flee Syria with her daughter to Paris in July 2011.
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