Recent Press and Mentions

City of Asylum

Click the logos above to see City of Asylum featured in Forbes, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review Daily, PBS News Hour, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic Traveler, Al Jazeera America, and check below for a more comprehensive list of City of Asylum’s press and mentions.



This page includes links to articles and media coverage of City of Asylum and its people, programs, and publications.

March 9, 2017: “The writing is on the wall: Alphabet City is North Side oasis for the arts”  – The Jewish Chronicle

March 3, 2017: “Upper St. Clair students hear about author’s experience as refugee” – The Almanac 

March 2, 2017: “Osama Alomar’s very short stories” – Chicago Tribune 

March 2, 2017: “Writers in exile find welcoming support in Chicago” – Chicago Tribune

March 1, 2017: “Arts groups mobilize to save federal funding ” – Pittsburgh City Paper

February 13, 2017: “City of Asylum @ Alphabet City opens its doors to the community” – NextPittsburgh

February 1, 2017: “Ralph Henry Reese: Giving Exiled Writers Security and Freedom” – Voice of America

January 26, 2017: “Q&A with Ecuadorian cartoonist, activist Vilma Vargas” – The Northside Chronicle

January 18, 2017: “What Art Under Trump” – The Nation

January 09, 2017: “Some persecuted writers get a new life in the US. But exile isn’t easy.” – Public Radio International (PRI) 

September 7th, 2016: “Pittsburgh Nonprofit Shelters—and Celebrates—Exiled Writers” – Nonprofit Quarterly 

September 4th, 2016: “City of Asylum: A waystation for writers and their voices” – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

September 4th, 2016: “Former Masonic Hall goes from house of secrets to place of refuge” – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

July 10th, 2016: “City of Asylum Expands Safe Haven for Writers” – WPXI-TV

June 19th, 2016: “Co-founder Henry Reese on City of Asylum’s Redevelopment of North Side Building” – KDKA Sunday Business Page

May 12, 2016: “City of Asylum grants sneak peek of Alphabet City” – The Northside Chronicle

May 11, 2016: “City of Asylum/Pittsburgh Restaurant, Bookstore, Event Space Set for September” – Pittsburgh City Paper

May 11, 2016: “City of Asylum To Offer Both Arts and A Refuge in Pittsburgh” – CBS Pittsburgh

May 10, 2016: “City of Asylum works on new North Side Headquarters” – Trib Live

May 10, 2016: “Organization That Houses Exiled Writers Finds New Home” – 90.5 WESA

May 10, 2016: “For City of Asylum, new North Side HQ posed financing challenges” – Pittsburgh Post Gazette

April 27, 2016: “Cities Have Become the New Laboratories of Success” – Erie Reader

April 21, 2016: “Finding Literary Asylum in Pittsburgh” – NEA

April 12, 2016: “How I Found My Voice in House Poem” – Medium

April 2016: “Open To Thinking: Sheltering the artist at risk” – Windy City Media Group

April 2016: “Pittsburgh Global Press Conference” – KQV

April 2016: “A Conversation with Israeli Writer Assaf Gavron” – KQV

March 28, 2016: “Top Ten Things To Do in Pittsburgh in April” – Pittsburgh Magazine

March 2016: “A Conversation with Vu Tran, a Vietnamese American Writer” – KQV

March 2016: “How America Is Putting Itself Back Together” – The Atlantic

March 21, 2016: “Language as Art in Pittsburgh” – The Atlantic

March 10, 2016: “Pittsburgh: Innovation in the Steel City” – Yahoo News with Katie Couric

February 16, 2016: “City of Asylum: Making a Global and Cultural Impact in Pittsburgh!” – KQV

December 7, 2015: “Walkabout: Masonic Hall project gives hope to blighted N. Side block” – Pittsburgh Post Gazette

November 20, 2015: “UNPACKING THE MATRIX 8/10: IMMIGRATION” – ArtPlace America

November 19, 2015: “Homework: City of Asylum offers home tours, wine tastings” – Trib Live

November 18, 2015: “Alphabet City construction update, house tour” – The Northside Chronicle

Jazz Poetry Concert 2015:

September 9. 2015: “Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum festival gives voice to stifled writers” – Trib Live

September 9. 2015: “Lauded pianist and composer Vijay Iyer headlines City of Asylum’s Jazz Poetry Concert” – City Paper

August 29 2015: “Top 12 Pittsburgh Events Not To Miss in September” – Next Pittsburgh

August 25 2015: “City of Asylum/Pittsburgh offers writers in exile sanctuary alongside expansive creative placemaking” – Springboard Exchange

August 2015: “City of Asylum Summer Programs” – KDKA TV

July 15, 2015: 36 Hours in Pittsburgh -“From industrial eyesores to ultramodern lofts, Pittsburgh has no shortage of architectural styles — but only one building is covered by giant poetry written in Chinese calligraphy.” – The New York Times

April 28, 2015: “City of Asylum/Pittsburgh Presents An Economic Dance Lesson” – Pittsburgh Magazine

January 20, 2014: “Trafford writer wins City of Asylum residency in Belgium” – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

January 20, 2014: “City of Asylum preparing rebirth of Masonic Hall” – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

December 17, 2014: “How Grass-Roots Arts Projects Land Funding” (featuring City of Asylum) – The Wall Street Journal

November 1, 2014: “City of Asylum, a vibrant block of homes that have been rehabilitated and dedicated to providing housing for artists, musicians, and writers from around the world and which have become a cultural magnet for city residents.” – Giada Weekly

October 31, 2014: “In the City of Bridges, an eclectic community embraces writers in exile” – The Atlantic

October 18, 2014:Declared “City of Asylum Pittsburgh Day” by Mayor Bill Peduto

October 17, 2014: City of Asylum featured in The Paris Review Daily morning roundup.

October 17, 2014: City of Asylum featured in Poets&Writers daily roundup.

October 15, 2014: City of Asylum voted among the Best Literary Events in Pittsburgh – City Paper

October 14, 2014: Exiled Voices: City of Asylum Pittsburgh’s 10th anniversary reading
NEXT Pittsburgh

October 8, 2014: At 10 years, City of Asylum Pittsburgh honors five exiled writers – POP City


September 25, 2015: Updates on Alphabet City®


June 2014:Lost/Found at City of Asylum

  • “Lively, fun, and moving.” – City Paper
  • Prague’s Archa Theatre delves into the Immigrant Experience – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Lost and Found puts stories of immigrants center stage in Pittsburgh – Tribune Review
  • Ovace ve stoje pro pražské Divadlo Archa v Pittsburghu – Blesk

June 13, 2014: Visa process proves to be a daunting challenge – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


July – August 2014:Digital Sanctuaries

July 3, 2014: Independence Day has different meaning for immigrants, veterans – Tribune-Review

June – July 2014:River of Words

  • River of Words Connects Communities and Brains – Tribune-Review 
  • Words, art, and homes merge in appealing display on Northside – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Colectivo de arte venezolano ganó concurso de Arte Público en Pittsburgh – El Universal
  • Pop Filter Hot Pick:  River of Words inaugurates City of Asylum’s Garden-to-Garden Artway – POP City
  • A River of Words Engulfs the Northside – NEXT Pittsburgh
  • Proyecto “Río de palabras” del colectivo venezolano: Arnal-Romero-Centeno – ArtNexus
  • A River of Words will flow through the Northside – WESA

April 30, 2014: Point Park University’s City of Asylum animation projects are live!

Watch: A Sea of Words
Watch: Wild Beast

April 29, 2014: City of Asylum co-founders Henry Reese and Diane Samuels are interviewed for Late Night Library.

March 19, 2014: City of Asylum co-founder Henry Reese to speak at Point Park University symposium – Point Park Globe

March 3, 2014: Oppression prompted writer to leave Iran – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Feb. 26, 2014: Talented Point Park students are putting their art to work for City of Asylum – Point Park Globe

Feb. 11, 2014: Woman of Courage to speak in Pittsburgh – 90.5 FM WESA

Feb. 3, 2014: COAP cited as model for revitalized City of Asylum Las Vegas – News 3

Jan. 11, 2014: Cave Canem to offer workshops at City of Asylum – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Jan. 10, 2014: Proud to Be from Pittsburgh: Channel 11 anchor Peggy Finnegan visits City of Asylum and interviews writer Yaghoub Yadali and Henry Reese – WPXI

Jan. 9, 2014: NEA Grants Awarded to local Arts Organizations – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Jan. 8, 2014: Writing in NatGeo Traveller, Dipti Nair profiles Pittsburgh and City of Asylum.

Jan. 5, 2014: Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum a Bastion for Persecuted Writers. – Pitt News

Jan. 2, 2014: English PhD candidate Katie Brown on visiting Israel Centeno at City of Asylum – Katie Brown on Culture

Jan. 2, 2014: City of Asylum receives grant for annual concert – Northside Chronicle

Dec. 19, 2013: City of Asylum: breaking Down Barriers – 90.5 WESA’s “Essential Pittsburgh”

Dec. 17, 2013: City of Asylum’s NEA “Art Works” Grant

Dec. 13, 2013: New Developments at Federal-North Project, site of Alphabet City –
Pittsburgh Business Times

Dec. 12, 1013: Portions of Garden Theater block on North Side could open to new developers – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Sept. 17, 2013: Cuban Newrrative (SampsoniaWay.org) – Martí

Sept. 18, 2013:Diario de Cuba

Sept. 7, 2013: Latin Times

October 30, 2013: How Public Art is Changing the Urban Landscape – POP City

August 6, 2013: Cities Turn to Creative Placemaking – BMoreMedia online

August 1, 2013: City of Asylum wins NEA Our Town Grant – Northside Chronicle

August 2013:Sampsonia Way editor Silvia Duarte pictured next to House Poem at City of Asylum/Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh Magazine

July 18, 2013: City of Asylum Earns NEA Grant Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

July 10, 2013: Jeffrey Brown profiles poet and activist Liao Yiwu. Interview conducted at City of Asylum/Pittsburgh’s Exiled Voices of China and Tibet – PBS NewsHour

July 2013: Freedom to Speak: An interview with Sampsonia Way Managing Editor Silvia Duarte – Vela

June 26, 2013: City of Asylum/Pittsburgh awarded $250,000 for North Side project – Pittsburgh Business Times

June 27, 2013: Art from the Ground Up: City of Asylum/Pittsburgh Firmly Rooted in Its North Side Neighborhood – 90.5 WESA

June 27, 2013:Northside Chronicle

June 11, 2013: Huang Xiang at Exiled Voices of China and Tibet – World Journal

June 9, 2013: Chinese dissidents in exile share experiences in North Side forum – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

June 7, 2013: Pittsburgh group hosts a rare gathering of exiled Chinese political dissidents – City Paper

June 1, 2013: Insider’s Guide to Pittsburgh – The Wall Street Journal

June 2013: Jose Muniain’s “Bridging the Arts” Video on City of Asylum, shown at the Americans for the Arts Convention.

May 22, 2013: The Arts Engine: Christine O’Toole talks about the arts in Pittsburgh, including plans for Alphabet City – Pittsburgh Today

June 9, 2013: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

May 20, 2013: Coverage of ArtPlace America Grant to City of Asylum – Pop City

May 22, 2013: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

May 27, 2013: WESA 90.5

May 30, 2013:Northside Chronicle

May 6, 2013: Coverage of AfricAméricas at City of Asylum

March 18, 2013: Coverage of Alphabet City announcement

  • City of Asylum venue to anchor Garden Theatre block – Pittsburgh City Paper
  • City of Asylum’s literary center to open on North Side; shifting from previous site on Monterey, Alphabet City will anchor the Garden Theater Block development – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Bookstore, more planned for area near Garden Theater – Trib Live
  • City of Asylum/Pittsburgh to open Literary Center in Northside’s Garden Theater Block – POP City
  • France: City of Asylum Pittsburgh decided to establish a center for the literary life with both local objectives, but also international. The association is particularly helpful to authors persecuted in their country of origin. It will install its facilities in the district of North Side of the American city. – Actualitte
  • City of Asylum Opening Literary Center in Pittsburgh – Hawthorne Books

March 6, 2013: Ten Questions for Israel Centeno – Venezuelan Literature

January 13, 2013: Andrew Moore talks with Henry Reese about City of Asylum’s literary center and more – POP City

2012: “Give Me Shelter” by Aviya Kushner details City of Asylum and other “fascinating, quirky, and deeply American effort(s) to help international refugee writers make new writing lives in the United States.” – Gulf Coast Magazine

June 20, 2012: Fearless Ink: 8 writers in 7 countries, all confronting free speech restrictions in Sampsonia Way MagazinePOP City

October 25, 2011: Diana Nelson Jones reports on City of Asylum’s “Sister Cities” exchange with Het Beschrijf in Belgium, which took Pittburgh poet Terrance Hayes to Brussels and brought Belgian writer Paul Mennes to Pittsburgh for two months. – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Sept. 30, 2010: Jeffrey Brown’s feature on City of Asylum; interviews with then-Writer-in-Residence Khet Mar, Huang Xiang and Horacio Castellanos Moya, as well as City of Asylum’s co-founder and President, Henry Reese. – PBS NewsHour

Sept. 6, 2011: Coverage of the 2011 City of Asylum Jazz-Poetry Concert – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

June 2011: Coverage of Cave Canem Poets at City of Asylum – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

March 2011: “Creative, quirky and caring, Pittsburgh’s Sampsonia Way is also the international Main Street for the City of Asylum program for writers, making sure the pen stays mightier than the sword.” – Pittsburgh Magazine

March 2011: Profile: City of Asylum Exiled writer-in-residence (Myanmar) Khet Mar –Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Dec. 8, 2009: George Packer’s observations on City of Asylum – The New Yorker

Related Media


    • The Utne Reader
      An article by Claudia Méndez Arriaza, a reporter for elPeriódico de Guatemala and the recipient of a 2012 fellowship to study the politics of emerging democracies at Harvard, first published by Sampsonia Way (Sept. 2011), excerpted on The Utne Reader.


    • American Public Media: Weekend America – Bringing Poetry Home
      Home is a subject poets have been scribbling about in stanzas since the days of Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey.”…Poets put their own spin on the topic at City of Asylum Pittsburgh’s annual jazz and poetry reading. Two of those poets come from very different places: Liberian-born Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, and native South Carolinian Terrance Hayes. – by Larissa Anderson, aired Nov. 29, 2008.


    • Radio Free Asia
      A profile of exiled Chinese poet, City of Asylum’s first writer-in-residence Huang Xiang, published Dec. 13, 2004.


    • PBS POV: Well-Founded Fear
      Well-Founded Fear documents a variety of dramas unfolding in INS offices in the New York City area. The filmmakers focus on both the pleas of immigrants to stay in the United States, and the consideration of their cases by INS officers. At issue in every case are the requirements of asylum. To be granted, applicants must demonstrate a “well-founded fear” of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Huang Xiang’s case is included among those explored in the film, and he appears in it. Original air-date: June 5, 2000.


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