January 2023

Press Release

The Moore Prize for Human Rights Writing Announces 2022 Winner

The Christopher G. Moore Foundation is delighted to announce the winner of their sixth annual literary prize honouring books that feature human rights themes.

No Escape: The True Story of China’s Genocide of the Uyghurs by Nury Turkel has been chosen as the best book with the human rights theme, published between 1 July, 2021 and 30 June 2022.

The 2022 jury, comprised of Jury Chair Bidisha Mamata, Avril Benoît and Befekadu Hailu Techane, unanimously agreed that No Escape met the criteria of the prize with extraordinary clarity and impact. No Escape gives a rare perspective on a hidden genocide – that of the Uyghur people in Western China.

No Escape brings into focus a major human rights crisis that has belatedly come to the attention of the world. Part memoir and part call to action, it is the first major book to tell the story of the Chinese government’s oppression of the Uyghur people from the inside, detailing labour camps, ethnic and religious oppression, forced sterilisation and surveillance technology used to intimidate and control.

Author Nury Turkel has first-hand experience of the repression. He was born in a reeducation camp in China, and spent the first several months of his life in captivity with his mother, while his father served in an agricultural labour camp. Nury was later able to travel to the US to study and was granted asylum there in 1998. He is now a lawyer and tireless activist for the plight of his people.

The Jury says: “No Escape is a book that few people are in the position to write: a rare perspective of the oppression of the Uyghur people of China, revealed to us from the inside – by someone who has lived the story and escaped to fight for his people’s futures. It does so without weaponising the story itself or overlaying it with geopolitical or economic motives. Turkel’s brave writing, and incomparable story were striking from our first read of it, and very clearly stood out as remarkable amongst the very many excellent books we were privileged to read this year.”

Christopher G. Moore, Prize Founder, commented: “I commend the 2022 jury for their unanimous decision, which I fully support. They had the difficult task of picking a winner from a number of excellent books this year. Why No Escape emerges on top is simply due to the author’s perception, writing skill and original material. Nury Turkel takes the reader into the daily lives of the Uyghurs, whose activities are closely monitored by a surveillance state. The author vividly portrays the fine details of an ethnic minority who have been condemned to live in the shadow of an ongoing genocide and who are a source of forced labour in China.”

The Moore Prize has been established to provide funds to authors who, through their work, contribute to the understanding and universality of human rights. This unique initiative is awarded annually, as chosen by a panel of judges whose own work focuses on human rights. The winner of the prize will receive £1,000.

Notes to Editors:

  • The Jury members of the Moore Prize is each acting in a personal capacity. Their choices, opinions and judgements are their own and in no way reflective of those of their organisations.

  • Author Nury Turkel is a Uyghur American attorney, public official and human rights advocate based in Washington, D.C. He is currently the chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. Born in Kashgar, Xingjiang, in 1970, he went to the US for higher education in 1995 and was granted asylum there in 1998. He is co-founder of the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP). In 2020 he was named one of the Time 100 Most Influential People in the World.

  • The Christopher G. Moore Foundation and Moore Prize are named after Christopher G. Moore, the Canadian novelist and essayist. The Christopher G. Moore Foundation is a registered UK charity dedicated to supporting authors who promote human rights and monitor its infringements.

  • Avril Benoît is the executive director of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières in the US, based in New York City. She has worked with the international medical humanitarian organization since 2006 in various operational management and executive leadership roles. Throughout her career with MSF, Avril has contributed to major movement-wide initiatives, including the global mobilisation to end attacks on hospitals and health workers. She has worked as a country director and project coordinator for MSF, leading operations to provide aid to refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants in Mauritania, South Sudan, and South Africa. Prior to joining MS, Avril had a distinguished 20-year career as an award-winning journalist and broadcaster in Canada.

  • Bidisha Mamata is a broadcaster, journalist and multimedia artist. She specialises in international human rights, social justice and the arts and offers political analysis, arts critique and cultural diplomacy tying these interests together. She writes for the main UK broadsheets and presents and commentates heavily for BBC TV and radio, ITN, CNN, ViacomCBS and Sky News. Her fifth book, Asylum and Exile: Hidden Voices of London (2015), is based on her outreach work in UK prisons, refugee charities and detention centres. She is currently presenting the Hello Happiness audio series for Wellcome Collection, all about mental and physical health.

  • Befekadu Hailu Techane is a civil society leader, author and an advocate for the respect of human rights democracy in Ethiopia. He is co-founder and Executive Director at the Centre for Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD), an Ethiopian civil society organisation and was a co-founder of the renowned Zone 9 Blogging and Activism Collective. He was imprisoned in Ethiopia for his human rights activism in 2014 and again in 2016 but acquitted both times. Befekadu’s work has been recognised through several human rights awards including a PEN Pinter Prize for International Writer of Courage, a Sakharov Fellowship from the European Parliament and a Freedom Fellowship from the Human Rights Foundation.

  • Adrienne Loftus Parkins is a Trustee of the Foundation and acts as advisor and planner for the 2022 judging panel. Her vast experience includes being the Chair of the Moore Prize 2021 judging panel. Adrienne is also the founder and former director of the Asia House Festival of Asian Literature. She was a Consultant on the launch of of M Fest - Festival of Muslim Culture and Ideas and Advisor and Literary Director of Bangkok Edge Festival in Thailand.

  • Christopher G. Moore is a Canadian author whose writing is focused on Southeast Asia. Best known for his Calvino series of detective novels, he has also written several non-fiction works and edited anthologies of essays discussing human rights, freedom of speech and censorship.

  • The Foundation Trustees are Daniel Vaver, Christopher G. Moore, Adrienne Loftus Parkins and Busakorn Suriyasarn