The Park Center for Independent Media invites you to an evening celebrating four writers who have braved danger and refused censorship to exercise their artistic independence.

Join us on Thursday, September 22, at 5:30 p.m. in Textor 101, Ithaca College.

Poet Dmitry Bykov nearly died in a poisoning, then was banned from teaching or appearing on Russian TV. Essayist Pwaangulongii Dauod received death threats for writing about queer culture in Nigeria. Cartoonist Pedro X. Molina watched Nicaraguan state forces jail his colleagues and occupy his newspaper’s offices. Novelist Anouar Rahmani was threatened with imprisonment for writing about human rights in Algeria.

All four were forced from their homelands and found sanctuary through a City of Asylum in Ithaca, Pittsburgh, or Detroit. Timed with Banned Books Week, this event is part of a tour of solidarity between the programs of these three cities. It also marks the 20th anniversary of Ithaca City of Asylum protecting and supporting writers at risk.

This event is co-sponsored with the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Ithaca College Department of Writing, and the Department of Literatures in English.




Dmitry Bykov (Ithaca City of Asylum) is one of Russia’s best-known public intellectuals. He spent five days in a coma after falling ill during a speaking tour in 2019. An independent investigation blamed Russian security forces for poisoning him with the nerve agent Novichok. In addition to prohibiting him from teaching at the university level, the government has also barred him from appearing on state radio or TV. Bykov is currently a visiting critic at Cornell University and a fellow of the Open Society University Network.


Pwaangulongii Dauod (City of Asylum Detroit) is a novelist, essayist, and memoirist from Nigeria. His 2016 essay in Granta, “Africa’s Future Has No Space for Stupid Black Men,” sparked a national conversation about queer issues in Nigeria and provoked threats to his life. Woke Africa Magazine named him one of the “Best African Writers of the New Generation.” He is currently an Artist Protection Fund Fellow in residence at Wayne State University.



Pedro X. Molina (Ithaca City of Asylum) is a political cartoonist who fled Nicaragua during a crackdown on dissent in 2018. He was an International Writer in Residence at Ithaca College and was an Artist Protection Fund Fellow in residence at Cornell University. Among his many honors is a 2021 Gabo Award, a 2019 Maria Moors Cabot Award from Columbia Journalism School, and the 2018 Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award from Cartoonists Rights Network International.


Anouar Rahmani (City of Asylum Pittsburgh) is a novelist, journalist, and human rights defender from Algeria. He has faced legal harassment for his advocacy for individual freedom, environmental rights, and the rights of minorities, women, and LGBTQ+ people. In 2021, he was shortlisted for the Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards. He is currently an Artist Protection Fund Fellow in residence at Carnegie Mellon University.