Norway: Deeyah awarded by Norwegian PEN



Deeyah awarded by Norwegian PEN

Norwegian-Pakistani singer, music producer, composer, film maker and human rights activist Deeyah is awarded this year’s Ossietzky prize by Norwegian PEN, the Norwegian chapter of PEN International.

The Ossietzky prize is Norwegian PEN’s prize for outstanding achievements within the field of freedom of expression and is awarded annually on 15 November 2012, the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer. The prize will be awarded at a ceremony at the House of Literature in Oslo.

Deeyah’s talent was recognized nationally from the age of eight, and her first solo album was released in 1992 to broad critical acclaim. But the Norwegian-Pakistani community criticized her family’s encouragement of her musical career. They felt it was inappropriate for a young Muslim woman to perform music.

Her family continued to support her despite increased pressure and violent threats due to her growing presence in the media because of her music, but at age 17, after continued harassment and fearing for her family and personal safety, Deeyah left Norway for the United Kingdom. She continued working as a music artist, but in 2006 she stopped performing, instead turning her artistic focus to producing music and film making.

Deeyah came to Norway and told her story at the first world conference on freedom of artistic expression, ‘All that is Banned is Desired’, in October 2012. The video recording of her strong remarks on stage at the Oslo Opera House is currently being prepared, and will be posted on

More information about Deeyah:

More information about the Ossietzky prize:


Cover of Deeyah’s acclaimed 2006-album, ‘Ataraxis’

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