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The Power of Literature and Human Rights

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LSE Literary Festival Event|, in partnership with Novel Rights|

  • Date and time: Saturday 2 March 2013
  • Speakers: Gabriella Ambrosio; Vered Cohen-Barzilay; Marina Nemat
  • Chair: Professor Susan Marks

Literature has a unique capacity to touch the hearts and minds and engage readers in a way that is distinctly different from political or academic texts. Can it play a role in exposing human rights violations? Should literature be ‘engaged’, and should authors take political or social stands?

Gabriella Ambrosio’s novel Prima di lasciarsi (Before We Say Goodbye|) was inspired by the true story of a suicide bombing committed by a seventeen year-old Palestinian girl. It has been widely used by schools, colleges and human rights organisations as an educational tool.

Vered Cohen–Barzilay is the founder of Novel Rights|, a social enterprise which recognises the power of art, especially literature, to drive change and motivate people to take action. Novel Rights are dedicated to encouraging the literary community to share in human rights literature, expand their understanding and knowledge on human rights topics and violations, inviting them to take action.

Alongside producing events such as this, they operate an e-publishing house| dedicated to encouraging the literary community to share in human rights literature, expand their understanding and knowledge on human rights topics and inviting them to take action.

Marina Nemat is author of a memoir Prisoner of Tehran| about growing up in Iran, serving time in Evin Prison for speaking out against the Iranian government, escaping a death sentence and finally fleeing for a new life in Canada. Marina Nemat was awarded the first Human Dignity Prize in December 2007 by the European Parliament and the Cultural Association Europa. Marina's e-story Leila| has been published by Novel Rights.

Susan Marks| is Professor of International Law at LSE, and member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights. Her work attempts to bring insights from the radical tradition to the study of international law and human rights.  

Audio recording

An audio recording of the event is online here|

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 Marina NematVered Cohen-Barzilay