PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Cuban writer and photographer Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo has been chosen as this year’s 2014-2015 International Writers Project (IWP) Fellow. The IWP fellowship is given annually to one 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.
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.”
Born in Havana, Pardo Lazo is the author of five novels. He 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).
Pardo Lazo’s novel, Boring Home, was censored by the Letras Cubanas publishing house in 2009. Following its subsequent publication by Garamond (Prague) and El Nacional (Caracas), he has not been permitted to publish, study, or work in Cuba. He was arrested on three occasions and prevented from leaving the island by Fidel Castro’s secret police. He was finally allowed to leave Cuba in 2013 following the advent of migratory reforms launched by the government of Raul Castro.
Pardo Lazo 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, 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.
Pardo Lazo will be in residence at Brown from September 2014 through February 2015.
The International Writers Project Fellowship is sponsored by the Department of Literary Arts. More information about the International Writers Project, including its history and past IWP Fellows, is available on the project’s website.