Photo sourced from Sky News.

Prominent African writers recently took to social media to call on world leaders to bring unjustly imprisoned Egyptian writer Alaa Abd El-Fattah home through the slogan #SaveAlaa.

PEN America and PEN International organized the group effort to spread awareness about Alaa’s hunger strike during the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27). According to PEN America’s Instagram caption, “Alaa Abd El Fattah has been on hunger strike for over 200 days. On Sunday he will stop drinking fluids and by the end of #COP27, he will either be free or he will die.”

The African writers voicing their concerns include Egyptian writer Mona Eltahawy, Nigerian author Teju Cole, Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji, and Moroccan writer Leila Slimani. It is nice to see African authors from across the country and the world join hands to speak up for the wrongful imprisonment of a fellow writer.

See PEN America’s Instagram reel below:


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Recently, Alaa’s family was informed that Alaa’s hunger strike was broken for him through forced IV fluid treatment in prison. His family was shocked to visit him in prison and see his frail condition.

Alaa Abd El-Fattah is an Egyptian activist, writer, and political prisoner. His book You Have Not Yet Been Defeated (2022) is a collection of his essays, social media posts and interviews from 2011 until the present. Most of these pieces were written in prison, since he has been wrongfully jailed numerous times since 2014.

The book description states, “From theories on technology and history to profound reflections on the meaning of prison, You Have Not Yet Been Defeated is a book about the importance of ideas, whatever their cost.”

Here are some ways to take action and help Alaa:

  • Sign this petition to put pressure on the UK government to bring Alaa home.
  • Participate online by tweeting with the hashtags #SaveAlaa and #FreeAlaa.
  • If you live in the UK, write to your MP and request that they pressure James Cleverly, the UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Affairs, to demand Alaa’s immediate release
  • Buy his book You Have Not Yet Been Defeated here.

Read the #SaveAlaa threads on Twitter and Instagram for more information.