Providing refuge for persecuted writers and artists
On the occasion of its tenth anniversary celebration Ithaca City of Asylum (ICOA) published Ithaca City of Asylum: Celebrating Ten Years of Giving Voice to Freedom, a retrospective of ICOA’s work supporting writers who face political repression and offers detailed profiles of the writers who have come to Ithaca with the group’s support.
Identity, Faith, and Conflict: Essays on Pakistan and Beyond by Raza Rumi, 2016. “In these essays, Raza Rumi examines what it means to be Muslim in Pakistan today, how to define oneself in a contradictory and volatile society where zealotry turns to discrimination, exclusion, and even murder. For a Western reader, he offers a unique look into the complex social, political, and religious practices that inform contemporary Pakistan.” – Barbara Adams, from the Introduction
My Life in a Garden by Sonali Samarasinghe, 2016. In this series of essays, both serious and light-hearted, Sonali Samarasinghe writes of her struggles as a journalist in war-torn Sri Lanka, the loneliness of life in exile, and her memories of childhood and adolescence surrounded by family and flowers.
The Land My Father Gave Me by Sonali Samarasinghe, 2014. “The eighteen poems in The Land My Father Gave Me are a cry and a song: they contain loss, longing, anger, fear, pride, love gratitude, eventual steps toward balance, the hope for internal and external peace. To read them is to walk through door within door, hallways of mirrors reflecting self and world. Sonali has brought intellect and political acumen to crafting poems about the most personal experiences, emotions, and insights” -Katharyn Howd Machan
Land of Flowers by Irakli Kakabadze, 2010. Writing simultaneously in Georgian and English, Irakli Kakabadze travels between activism in the Republic of Georgia and exile in the United States, continually refining his vision of pacifist poetics. With deep roots in the Futurists and the Beats, these bold, funny and ardent poems dismantle language to shatter expectations and create a new world.
Candidate Jokola by Irakli Kakabadze, 2009. When oil executive Jokola Kistauri suddenly quits the presidential race, the media launches into a feeding frenzy to understand why. In this story of wartime love and politics, suppressed in the Republic of Georgia, Irakli Kakabadze reaches behind the masks of power and success to explore the choices we make as human beings.
Two Stories: No Place to Die & Where Was Manandi Last Night? by Sarah Mkhonza, 2007. In these stories, Sarah Mkhonza creates a set of sharply drawn, unsparing portraits of women living at the edges of Swazi society, from the landless scavengers of “No Place to Die” to the childless wife struggling to keep her husband in “Where was Manandi Last Night.”
Don’t Go to the Reception with Friends of the Groom! by Reza Daneshvar, 2006. A drive into the countryside beyond Paris turns surreal in “Don’t Go to the Reception with Friends of the Groom!” a mischievously disorienting fantasia that mirrors the immigrant’s sense of dislocation. With serio-comic intensity, Reza Daneshvar gives us the inherent absurdity of the exile trying to negotiate another culture’s darkest recesses.
ICOA provides refuge in Ithaca, New York, for writers and artists whose works are suppressed, whose lives are threatened, whose cultures are vanishing, and whose languages are endangered. We also advocate for human rights and freedom of expression. ICOA is part of theInternational Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN).
How can I help?
You can attend our events, provide free or discounted services for our guests, or volunteer to join our board. But the simplest way to help is to donate! ICOA is an all-volunteer project of the Center for Transformative Action, a 501(c)3 organization, and we rely on tax-deductible donations. It's fast and easy to give online, or you can write a check payable to the Center for Transformative Action and mail it to Center for Transformative Action, P.O. Box 760, Ithaca, NY 14851. Make sure to write "ICOA" on the memo line.