Gianluca Costantini
Political Comics / Human rights

Letters with Wings, when Art meets Activism

‘for the caged bird/ sings of freedom’ (Maya Angelou)

An event dedicated to the women artists Chimengul Awut (award-winning Uyghur poet) and Nûdem Durak (Kurdish origin folk musician and political prisoner in Turkey)

Why do some governments fear the arts? Why art can be a tool of resistance? Join us to listen to our guests discussing these and related questions, in an event of art and activism, for raising awareness of the artists in prison for defending freedom of expression and human rights.

The participants will include Lia Mills (Chair of Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann), Catherine Dunne, Celia de Fréine, Kate Ennals, Moyra Donaldson, Evgeny Shtorn, Gianluca Costantini (activist, cartoonist and visual artist), Antje Stehn (Rucksack, A Global Poetry Patchwork), Simone Theiss (Westminster and Bayswater Amnesty International Group) and Letters with wings’ poet members Maria McManus, Nandi Jola, Csilla Toldy and Viviana Fiorentino.

Letters With Wings (LWW) promotes arts and defends the right of writers worldwide to responsible freedom of expression.

Lia Mills writes novels, short stories, memoirs and essays. Her most recent novel, Fallen, was the Dublin/Belfast Two Cities One Book selection for 2016.

Catherine Dunne is the author of ten novels and one work of non-fiction. Her work has been translated into several languages.

Celia de Fréine writes in many genres in both Irish and English. To date she has published nine collections of poetry.

Kate Ennals has published two collection of poetry At The Edge and Threads and runs At The Edge, Cavan, a literary reading evening, Her blog can be found at

Moyra Donaldson is an award winning and critically acclaimed poet and creative writing facilitator from County Down.

Evgeny Shtorn is a LGBT+ activist, organiser, scholar and poet, and a recipient of the GALAS 2020 Person of the Year award. Due to his involvement in civil-society work, he was forced to leave Russia in 2018.

Gianluca Costantini is an activist and visual artist. Censored on the web by the Turkish government, he has published comic stories on many newspapers such as La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera in Italy, Le Monde Diplomatique in France, among many others. His latest books is Libia for Mondadori

Antje Stehn was born in Germany, resides in Italy, is a poet, visual artist, video producer, and art curator. She conceived Rucksack A Global Poetry Patchwork, an art installation that brings together people and languages, emphasizing the value of closeness.

Simone Theiss is member of Amnesty International. She uses Social Media to campaign for HR and raise awareness about prisoners of conscience in MENA (Middle East and North Africa).

Maria McManus is a poet. Her most recent collection is Available Light. Artistic director of, she puts literature into public spaces.

Nandi Jola is a South African-born poet, facilitator, writer, artist and storyteller. She came to Northern Ireland in 2001 and has since worked extensively in the arts. Nandi’s one-woman verse performance, “The Journey”, was selected for International Literature Festival Dublin in October 2020.

Csilla Toldy is a writer and artist, born in Budapest. She left Hungary as a teenager and lived in many European countries until she settled in Northern Ireland. Her poems appeared in literary magazines and anthologies, in the UK, Ireland, Canada and Australia.

Viviana Fiorentino teacher & translator, is a poet and novelist. She co-founded two activist poetry initiatives (Sky, you are too big & Letters with wings) and a blog to voice forgotten women artists (Le Ortique).

Find out more: • facebook • twitter

This initiative is part of “The Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics”  organized by Imagine! set up in 2014 to showcase new ideas on politics, culture and civic activism. Strictly non-partisan, we aim to entertain not pontificate! The organization presents itself as: “Strictly non-partisan, we aim to entertain not pontificate! Our key objectives are to encourage the participation of under-represented groups in political/cultural discussion; to stimulate reflection and debate on difficult and controversial issues and to promote free speech” and functions on the basis of donations.


Political Comics


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