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Syrian journalist and writer Samar Yazbek, who was forced into exile after criticizing President Bashar al-Assad, has won PEN's Pinter International Writer of Courage Award.
Yazbek, who fled her homeland late last year after repeated run-ins with the state security services, was recognized for her book, "A Woman In The Crossfire", an account of the early stages of the Syrian revolution.
In line with the late playwright Harold Pinter's Nobel speech in which he spoke of casting "an unflinching, unswerving gaze upon the world", the prize is awarded annually to a writer who has been persecuted for speaking out about their beliefs.
"The great thing about this prize is that it highlights figures who might not otherwise get the recognition they deserve," Heather Norman Soderlind, Deputy Director of English PEN, told Reuters.
Yazbek insists, though, that while grateful for the honor, she doesn't see this as a personal accolade. "I felt that beyond me this was a prize for the Syrian Revolution," she said.
Story from Reuters.
Americans are paying high prices for poor quality Internet speeds — speeds that are now slower than in other countries, according to author David Cay Johnston. He says the U.S. ranks 29th in speed worldwide.
"We're way behind countries like Lithuania, Ukraine and Moldavia. Per bit of information moved, we pay 38 times what the Japanese pay," Johnston tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "If you buy one of these triple-play packages that are heavily advertised — where you get Internet, telephone and cable TV together — typically you'll pay what I pay, about $160 a month including fees. The same service in France is $38 a month."
In his new book, The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use "Plain English" to Rob You Blind, Johnston examines the fees that companies — such as cellphone and cable — have added over the years that have made bills incrementally larger.
On February 14, 1989, Valentine’s Day, Salman Rushdie was telephoned by a BBC journalist and told that he had been “sentenced to death” by the Ayatollah Khomeini. For the first time he heard the word fatwa. His crime? To have written a novel called The Satanic Verses: A Novel, which was accused of being “against Islam, the Prophet and the Quran.”
So begins the extraordinary story of how a writer was forced underground, moving from house to house, with the constant presence of an armed police protection team. He was asked to choose an alias that the police could call him by. He thought of writers he loved and combinations of their names; then it came to him: Conrad and Chekhov—Joseph Anton. -- Read More
The prize-winning author says he’s furious with the online encyclopedia over its entry about his novel “The Human Stain.”
In a letter posted Friday by The New Yorker, Roth says Wikipedia editors had said the book was inspired by the life of author Anatole Broyard.
Not true, Roth responded. The character was based on the late Melvin Turin, of Princeton University.
Roth says he privately reported the error to Wikipedia and was told, to his amazement, that he needed a secondary source. So Roth made his case to the public.
His agent, Andrew Wylie, confirmed the letter was written by Roth.
By Friday afternoon, the Wikipedia entry had been updated to include Roth’s comments and to note that some had “incorrectly speculated” about the novel’s origins.