October 11, 2010
Human Rights Watch administers the Hellman/Hammett grant program for writers who have been victims of political persecution and are in financial need. The grants are geared toward writers who make writing their primary vocation, although we also consider activists who write to advance human rights issues.
In addition to offering financial assistance, the grants, by highlighting individual cases, help focus attention on repression and censorship around the world. While some recipients have asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons, many others have used this honor to call attention to human rights conditions in their countries.
The grants are made possible by the estate of the American playwright Lillian Hellman with funds set up in her name and that of her long-time companion, the novelist Dashiell Hammett. Ms. Hellman was prompted by her experiences during the anti-communist hysteria of the 1950s, when she and Hammett were interrogated about their political beliefs and affiliations before Congressional committees. Hellman suffered professionally and had trouble finding work for a number of years. Hammett served time in prison.
Since the program began in 1989, more than 600 writers from 91 countries have received Hellman/Hammett grants, in amounts of $500 to $10,000. We have also given group grants to writers in Bosnia, Burma, Peru, and Sierra Leone.
Nominations are due this year by December 10, and awards will be given in the spring of 2011. Decisions are made by a selection committee composed of writers and editors who have a long-standing interest in free expression issues.
Nominations arising from emergency situations are accepted at any time. Writers whose lives are at risk unless they flee or those who need immediate medical treatment after being physically attacked, serving prison terms, or enduring torture may be considered for these emergency grants.
Please use the attached form to provide background information about the writer, the circumstances of persecution, samples or characterizations of the writer's literary or journalistic work, and information about financial need. You may submit more than one nomination, but please note that we do not accept self-nominations.
If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact me.
for the Hellman/Hammett Selection Committee at Human Rights Watch
Nomination Form for
Human Rights Watch distributes funds from Lillian Hellman’s estate to writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, anywhere in the world, who are in financial need due to political persecution.
Eight distinguished authors and editors form a selection committee to choose the Hellman/Hammett grant recipients. Nominations for 2011 grants are requested by December 10, 2010.
To the degree that this information is available, we request: 1) biographical information about the nominee: 2) a list of the nominee’s published writings; 3) a statement about the political persecution suffered by the nominee and how these experiences relate to his or her writing; 4) a statement about financial need. If the nominator cannot provide all this information, please indicate sources from which it may be obtained. You may attach additional information if it cannot be accommodated by this form.
Nominations should be sent to Marcia Allina, Human Rights Watch, 350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor, New York NY 10118-3299. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Name of nominee:
Work phone: Home phone: Cellular:
If these are unavailable, please provide the contact information for another person through whom the nominee can be contacted.
Work phone: Home phone: Cellular:
Provide on separate sheets as much biographical information about the nominee as possible, and the source of this information. If a curriculum vitae of the nominee is available, please attach it.
Describe the nominee's writing activities as completely as possible:
List all books by the nominee or publications in which his or her writing has appeared:
List any awards or recognition given for the nominee's writing:
Describe the political persecution to which the nominee was subjected and the source of this information:
Describe the nominee's financial need and the source of this information:
List two references for nominee. These should be persons who are familiar with the nominee’s circumstances, activities and writing.
Has the nominee ever been detained for, charged with, or convicted of a criminal offense or misdemeanor? If so, please describe.
Do you have any reason to believe that the nominee has engaged in or supported a criminal activity? If so, please describe.
Has the nominee ever been the subject of a civil lawsuit to your knowledge?
If so, please describe.