Colombian hostage and political activist Ingrid Betancourt at Fairfield University September 22


Ingrid Betancourt, whose book, "Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of BetancourtCaptivity in the Colombian Jungle," has been compared to the writing of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, opens the fall schedule of the Inspired Writer Series, a program of Fairfield University's MFA in Creative Writing, on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Admission is complimentary to the lecture and book signing and the public is welcome. The event is part of the university's teaching of global citizenship via curriculum and events.

A native of Bogotá, Colombia, who was raised in France, Betancourt returned to Colombia at the age of 32 determined to combat widespread corruption. She was a Colombian presidential candidate from the Oxygen Green Party when she as kidnapped in 2002 by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a terrorist guerrilla organization. Held captive for 2,321 days, she was beaten, chained around the neck, made to subsist on small portions of food and forced on epic marches through the rainforest, before being rescued along with 14 other hostages in 2008 by Colombian security forces.

In addition to Solzhenitsyn's "The Gulag Archipelago," The New York Times book reviewer Larry Rohter compared Betancourt's writing to novelists like Dumas and Arthur Koestler. "For all its horror and injustice," Rohter wrote, "the experience of the political prisoner held in inhuman conditions has often been transformed into compelling literature."

For her bravery under such extreme duress, Betancourt was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honour from France. Educated at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris, she married French citizen Fabrice Delloye in 1983 and obtained dual-citizenship. In the mid 1990s, after a divorce and the realization that Colombia needed more anti-corruption voices, Betancourt returned to Colombia and became an advisor to the Minister of Finance, and later to the Minister of Foreign Trade. In 1994 she was elected to the Chamber of Representatives and in 1998 she entered the Colombian Senate.

The author's appearance is one of several among Fairfield University's Inspired Writers Series, which offers the public an opportunity to meet with and discuss the work of writers of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. This event is made possible through co-sponsorship with the Departments of English, Modern Languages and Literatures, and Politics; and the programs in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, and Women's Studies, all within the College of Arts and Sciences.

For further information, please visit www.fairfield.edu/authorseries.

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Posted on September 7, 2011

Vol. 44, No. 30