The late writer Christopher Hitchens and Russian punk activists Pussy Riot - three of whose members have been jailed - are to be given a biennial peace prize in memory of John Lennon.

They are among the recipients of the LennonOno Grant For Peace which will be handed out in Reykjavik, Iceland, by Lennon's widow Yoko Ono next month.

Journalist and author Hitchens - who died last year - was an outspoken atheist who criticised many powerful figures but had been a supporter of the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Pussy Riot were at the centre of international outrage last month when three female members were jailed for two years following a performance in a Moscow cathedral earlier this year. Many musicians have tried to rally support in protest at their treatment.

Also to receive the award are the late Rachel Corrie, the US peace activist who was killed in 2003 as she tried to protect the home of a Palestinian family, and the US writer and activist John Perkins.

The awards will be handed out on 9 October on the day which Lennon would have celebrated his 72nd birthday.

A fifth recipient will also be honoured and their name will be announced at a later date. Members of Pussy Riot will be awarded their grant in New York on 21 September.

Christopher Hitchen's best quotes:

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  • The Best of the Hitchslap - Part Two

    A collection of Christopher Hitchens' atheist comments.

  • reddit.com Interviews Christopher Hitchens

    Ah, the internet vs. Christopher Hitchens, as he answers the top questions from reddit.com. See questions: budurl.com Creative Commons License Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States

  • Christopher Hitchens and Newt Gingrich: What kind of war are we fighting?

    Taped July 18, 2002 What kind of war is the war on terrorism? Ten years on, some things have changed, but the war in discussion here is still going on and Newt Gringrich has just ended his presidential campaign. Here Hitchens questions the concept of fighting a "war on terrorism".

  • Christopher Hitchens at His Best (1)

    Segment from Christopher Hitchens at the Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX, Nov. 18th 2010. Part of a Hitchens' speech about religion, made shortly before his death in 2011.

  • Christopher Hitchens "All Of Life Is A Wager"

    A moving interview with Hitchens in which he speaks openly about having stage four esophageal cancer, on January 23, 2011 C-SPAN MOXNews.com

  • Christopher Hitchens: Why Women Still Aren't Funny

    As fierce believers in funny women, we find this one a little difficult to watch - but you can't deny Hitchens' ability to take on his critics.

  • Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

    A simple, moving collection of Hitchens' most memorable moments.

  • The Best of the Hitchslap

    A compilation of the moments the creator of this video believes epitomise the 'Hitchslap' - defined as an episode of 'unflinching intellectual prowess'.

  • Remembering Christopher Hitchens - Hitchslapping Circumcision!

    The author in a spirited debate about circumcision.

  • Christopher Hitchens Rules!

    Interspersed with clips of Hitchens smoking and drinking, some of the writer's most abrasive and eloquent comments.

  • Stephen Fry & friends on the life, loves and hates of Christopher Hitchens - IQ2 talks

    In this historic event, Stephen Fry and other friends of Christopher Hitchens came together to celebrate the life and work of this great writer, iconoclast and debater. Fry was joined on stage at the Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall by Richard Dawkins and the two discussed Hitch's unflinching commitment to the truth. The event was watched live by 2500 at the venue, and by thousands more in UK cinemas and online. hitchfry.intelligencesquared.com

  • Christopher Hitchens: Whisky, Cigs & Jefferson

    socraticmama.com [Inspiration & Support for Secular Families] 2006: Hitchens at DGWills Books, 7461 Girard Avenue, La Jolla, Ca. 92037 www.vanityfair.com Vanity Fair In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949--2011, by Juli Weiner, Dec 15th 2011. Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after. "My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends," he wrote in the June 2011 issue. He died in their presence, too, at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. May his 62 years of living, well, so livingly console the many of us who will miss him dearly ------ Christopher Eric Hitchens (born 13 April 1949) is an Anglo-American author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades. He has been a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the Hoover Institution in September 2008. He is a staple of talk shows and lecture circuits and in 2005 was voted the world's fifth top public intellectual in a Prospect/Foreign Policy poll. He's known for his admiration of George Orwell, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson and for his excoriating critiques of, among others, Mother Teresa <b>...</b>

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