The International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) is an independent organisation of cities and regions offering shelter to writers and artists at risk, advancing freedom of expression, defending democratic values and promoting international solidarity. Writers and artists are especially vulnerable to censorship, harassment, imprisonment and even death, because of what they do. They represent the liberating gift of the human imagination and give voice to thoughts, ideas, debate and critique, disseminated to a wide audience. They also tend to be the first to speak out and resist when free speech is threatened. ICORN member cities offer long term, but temporary, shelter to those at risk as a direct consequence of their creative activities. Our aim is to be able to host as many persecuted writers and artists as possible in ICORN cities and together with our sister networks and organisations, to form a dynamic and sustainable global network for freedom of expression.