Samir El-youssef (search), a Palestinian writer living in exile in England, was awarded the annual Tucholsky Award (search) Wednesday by the Swedish branch of PEN, the association of writers.

The prize, established in 1984, honors writers, journalists and publishers who face persecution, threats or exile from their home countries.

Previous winners of the Tucholsky prize include Indian-born British author Salman Rushdie (search) and exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin (search). The prize is worth $21,300.

El-youssef was born in Rashidia, a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, in 1965. Since 1990 he's been living in London, where he studied philosophy.

As a novelist, he published four books of fiction, of which "Gaza Blues" and "Different Stories" are the latest. He writes in both Arabic and English. He is also an essayist with a wide range of interests, including literature, politics, philosophy and cultural studies.

The award is named for German writer Kurt Tucholsky, who fled to Sweden in the 1930s from Nazi Germany. He died in 1935.

PEN (search) is an independent international organization working for international literary cooperation and freedom of the press.