This piece of news escaped us in September, but here it is: Cuban writer and photographer Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo is now in residence at Brown University as an International Writers Project (IWP) fellow through February 2015.
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo (born in Havana, 1972) is the author of several novels, among them, the award-winning Boring Home, which was first turned down by the esteemed Cuban publishing house Letras Cubanas, but later published by Garamond (Prague). In the Czech Republic, the novel won the Franz Kafka Drawer Novel Prize [Romány ze šuplíku] conferred by a nonprofit, private archival research library based in Prague—Libri Prohibiti—which collects exile and dissident literature.
According to the Brown University (News from Brown) site, “Pardo Lazo is a columnist for Madrid’s Diario de Cuba, Sampsonia Way Magazine and El Nacional in Caracas, and is webmaster of the photoblog Boring Home Utopics and the opinion blog Lunes de post-Revolución (available in English at orlandolunes.wordpress.com). [He] has continued his literary and political activities since his arrival in the United States. In 2014, O/R Books in New York published Cuba in Splinters: Eleven Stories from the New Cuba, an anthology of Cuban stories edited by Pardo Lazo. In October 2014, Restless Books will publish his digital photobook, Abandoned Havana, ‘a collection of surreal, irony-laden photos and texts’ about the city.”
The International Writers Project Fellowship is given annually to a “writer who has been subjected to political harassment, imprisonment, or oppression in his or her country of origin.” The fellowship provides a stipend and working space for the writer. It is sponsored by the Department of Literary Arts at Brown University. More information about the International Writers Project, including its history and past IWP Fellows, is available on the project’s website.
According to Erik Ehn, director of the International Writers Project, “The rigor of the word, the bravery of the writer, the ethic of solidarity and the faith in steady witness are celebrated at Brown through the mission and practices of the IWP, where we line up the disciplinary depth of literary programs at Brown with the University’s international mandate. IWP provides writers at risk time to write and engagement with our community of faculty and students, sharing fellowship across the school and beyond through festivals, performances, and special presentations.”
For more information, see https://news.brown.edu/articles/2014/09/iwp
Originally accessed through EthnoCuba (on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ethnocuba/)
Also see interview with the author here: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2009/03/23/cuba-interview-with-blogger-orlando-luis-pardo-lazo/ and his “Exilium ergo sum” at http://wordswithoutborders.org/article/exilium-ergo-sum
For more on the Libri Prohibiti award, see http://www.martinews.com/content/drawer-novels-where-censorship-is-ineffective/27974.html