Deadline: 10 December 2011
Open to: Journalists and authors who are in financial need due to political persecution
Human Rights Watch seeks nominations for writers of non-fiction, fiction or poetry deserving Hellman-Hammett grants, designed to recognize commitment to free expression and courage amid political pressure.
Human Rights Watch administers the Hellman/Hammett grant program for writers all around the world who have been victims of political persecution and are in financial need. The grants are named for the late American playwright Lillian Hellman and her longtime companion, the novelist Dashiell Hammett. Hellman suffered professionally and had trouble finding work. Hammett spent time in prison. Over the past 22 years, more than 700 writers from 92 countries have received Hellman/Hammett grants of up to US$10,000 each, totaling more than $3 million. The program also gives small emergency grants to writers who have an urgent need to leave their country or who need immediate medical treatment after serving prison terms or enduring torture.
Free expression is a central human right, enshrined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declares that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”The winners of Hellman/Hammett grants are only a small portion of the many writers around the world whose books have been banned or who have been exiled, imprisoned, tortured, and harassed because of their work. Their compelling stories illustrate the importance of insisting that governments respect and protect freedom of opinion and expression.
The grants are awarded annually after the nominations have been reviewed by a selection committee composed of authors, editors, and journalists who have a longstanding interest in free expression issues.
Writers all around the world who have been victims of political persecution and are in financial need
Hellman/Hammett grants typically range from $1,000 to a maximum of $10,000. In addition to providing much needed financial assistance, the Hellman/Hammett grants focus attention on repression of free speech and censorship by publicizing the persecution that the grant recipients endured. In some cases the publicity is a protection against further abuse. In other cases, the writers request anonymity because of the dangerous circumstances in which they and their families are living.
How to apply?
The nominator should try to provide:
- Biographical information about the nominee;
- A list of the nominee’s published writing;
- A statement about the political persecution suffered;
- A statement of need.
Nominations should be sent to the New York office of Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch,
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor,
New York NY 10118-3299.
For further information, contact [email protected]