Iranian Baha’i Poet Mahvash Sabet Named PEN International Writer Of Courage

Baha’i poet Mahvash Sabet, who was jailed for nearly a decade in Iran, has been selected as the 2017 International Writer of Courage.

Northern Ireland poet Michael Longley named Sabet at the PEN Pinter Prize ceremony at the British Library in London on October 10.

Longley won the prize earlier this year. The award is shared with a writer who has faced persecution.

Longley said he was “humbled” to share the PEN Pinter Prize with Sabet, saying that she is “at heart a lyrical poet who sings the beauty of the world.”

“Her imagination is rhapsodic. Her poems want to soar,” he added.

Longley also said that Sabet’s incarceration in Iran was “a sin against the light.”

Sabet was one of seven Baha’i leaders arrested in 2008 and convicted of espionage and spreading propaganda against the clerical establishment.

She was released in September.

Baha’is face state persecution in Iran where their faith is not recognized in the country’s constitution.


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