The MENA Forum

What will the MENA Forum do?

As a new initiative to create a network of authors and poets in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) the MENA Authors Forum has the following aims:

  • To create a community that will act in solidarity and with responsibility toward one another
  • To ensure MENA authors perspectives are represented within relevant international law and policy-making bodies, and that they are informed about the latest developments within these bodies which are relevant to them and are given the opportunity (where appropriate) to respond
  • To support authors at risk.Respond to and deal with external factors that affect authors’ working conditions to ensure that authors are protected and equipped with the means to continue working and exercise their rights
  • To support female authors, to campaign for gender rights as creators and to help create and find opportunities
  • To enable authors to deal with challenges they are facing nationally, by supporting them in forming associations and unions, providing information about policy issues affecting authorsand means for them to better protect their rights
  • To support the  distribution of poetry and novels both inside and beyond the MENA region, promoting literature and writers living in the area creating an open market free of political considerations and censorship

The MENA Forum will unite authors and others with interest in the professional status and rights of authors from the MENA region under the umbrella of the International Author’s forum. The MENA Forum is apolitical and do not represent the interest of any political state or the area. The forum will address the issues of writing and authorship, cultural exchange only and will be open to everyone to attend without any distinction of race, colour, gender, language, religion etc’ as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


IAF Chair John Degen

“I am pleased to welcome the MENA network to the International Authors Forum. By providing virtual space for authors from the Middle East and North Africa to network and engage with each other on global issues about authorship and cultural work, MENA contributes to IAF’s core goal of connecting the world’s authors for our mutual benefit.”


IAF Honorary President Maureen Duffy

“In these very difficult conditions for all creators ,of globalisation and digitisation, and this is as rue for writers as for visual artists and musicians, we can all be helped by networks of our fellow creators and their organisations which may be trades unions or professional associations around the world, to put our case jointly, and with maximum effect, to governments and the international bodies responsible for the laws and regulations that affect our work and livelihoods, and also to provide information and mutual support.

“This is the ethos behind the International Authors Forum, so I am delighted to welcome MENA, which is expanding our reach into new areas, and to offer authors in the Middle East and North Africa, the support of and a place in , the IAF family.”


MENA Forum Co-ordinator, Vered Cohen Barzilay

MENA Forum co-ordinator

Vered Cohen Barzilay co-ordinates the MENA Forum, maintaining the network of members from across the MENA area. Vered is also the Founder-Director of Novel Rights – A social enterprise promoting Human Rights Literature. Vered first presented the concept of human rights literature at Oxford University in March 2012. She continues to lecture worldwide and promote human rights literature.

Vered can be contacted at:

MENA Forum presentation in Rome 2018

    MENA documents

    Useful MENA info