Gold Mercury Board Member Wins Prestigious Freedom to Write Award

Sonia Nassery Cole, Gold Mercury International Advisory Board Member and Director and Producer of the inspirational film ‘Black Tulip’ has won the Freedom to Write Award, granted by the PEN Center USA.

The Oscar nominated film ‘Black Tulip’ addresses the notion that “freedom is never free” and is about a family in Kabul that opens a literary café catering to artists and poets. In the café, poets are offered the opportunity to read their works. The film was shot on location in Kabul, Afghanistan using extensive security precautions despite death threats from the Taliban . The film was nominated for an Oscar in both the Best Foreign Language Film and Best Soundtrack categories in 2011. Nassery Cole also established the Afghanistan World Foundation funding the construction of a hospital for women and children in Kabul, medical care for land-mine victims and other causes.

PEN Center USA has a membership list of more than 800 writers, including poets, playwrights, essayists, novelists (these make up the original letters in the acronym, ‘PEN’), as well as television and screenwriters, critics, historians, editors, journalists and translators. PEN Center USA was founded in 1943. Its mission states that the organisation will “defend and promote freedom of expression throughout the world by advocating for the release of imprisoned writers, and for the protection of writers who suffer political prosecution, persecution, and censorship.” Since 1993, PEN Center USA’s Freedom To Write Program has honoured individuals whose work and experience underscores their mission.

The Freedom To Write Award will be presented to Sonia Nassery Cole at a gala dinner on October 14, 2013, at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

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