Today in our poetry news round-up we take a look at the International Writer of Courage and the proposal to rename Alicante airport after a poet.
International Writer of Courage Named
The poet Amanuel Asrat, who has been in prison since 2001 without charge, has been chosen as the writer of courage who will share this year’s PEN Pinter Prize. He was chosen by this year’s winner, Linton Kwesi Johnson.
It is believed that Amanuel Asrat, who, in 2001 was arrested, is still being held in a maximum-security prison. However, his family have concerns that he may no longer be alive.
Johnson was awarded the PEN Pinter prize earlier in 2020 for his
When he accepted the award, Johnson, who is a dub poet from Jamaica, named Asrat, a critic, poet and the editor-in-chief of Zemen, a newspaper, as the winner who he will share the award with. The award is given to a writer who has faced persecution because they spoke out about their own beliefs. Previous winners of the award include Roberto Saviano, the Gomorrah author and Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger.
New Name Proposed for Alicante-Elche Airport
The Alicante-Elche airport in Spain may be looking at changing its name to honour a poet as residents of the Alicante area begin collecting signatures on a petition.
The organisers of the petition would like to petition the government to change the name of the airport to the Miguel Hernandez Airport, in honour of the famous Oriolano poet. They want to bring about a new recognition of the poet’s work.
Talking about the petition one of the organisers stated that in the US they have a number of airports named in honour of famous people and that they believe it would be a good idea to have the airport named after someone the whole province is proud of.
Miguel Hernandez was a playwright and poet in the 20th century. He died in 1942 of tuberculosis aged just 31. He had previously been imprisoned for his part in the Republican side of the civil war.
He managed to avoid the death penalty and his last book Cancionero y Romancero de Ausencias was in fact published following his death. The poems in the collection were written whilst he was in prison. Some were included in letters that he sent to his wife whilst others were written on scraps of toilet paper. The collection is to be considered one of the 20th century’s finest pieces of Spanish poetry.
The signatures that are being collected in the petition, which is largely being carried out on social media platforms, will be presented at the Government Sub-delegation.
The poet’s name has previously been suggested as a new name for the airport. When the airport changed its name in 2013 Hernandez name was originally proposed however Elche became a part of the new name. The new proposal suggests that rather than simply calling the airport he Hernandez airport, as it was in the proposal of 2013, that the poet’s name be incorporated into the name as Elche was.