Free the Word! around the world
A global celebration of the best in contemporary writing
1 June 2009
International PEN, the world writers' association, continues to celebrate the best in contemporary writing by taking its festival of world literature, Free the Word!, global. Established in London in 2008, Free the Word! aims to bring together ‘the great writers you know and the great writers you don't', giving a platform to explosive and exciting storytelling, dialogue and discussion across cultures and languages.
From October 2009, Free the Word! will evolve into a truly international festival with events taking place across world cities all linked by a shared theme. The theme for 2009 - 2010 is ‘Words, words, nothing but words?', taken from Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, embodying the very essence of International PEN and its belief that the value and exchange of words gives insights into other worlds through shared stories and experiences.
The festival will begin its global journey on 23 October in Linz, Austria for three days with Free the Word! Linz, immediately after the 75th International PEN Congress. It will be followed by Free theWord! Guadalajara in November, Free the Word! Dakar in December and from January 2010, events continue in Cartagena, Barcelona, Algiers and the third Free the Word! London in April. All will promote the best in world literature and literature in translation.
This month, International PEN also launches Free the Word! World Book Club. The club, presented in association with Temple Translations, aims to further celebrate the great writers you know and the great writers you don't, by giving readers across the globe the chance to access and interact with literature and voices that they might not otherwise hear.
'Think of Free the Word as the ley lines of world literature', that's the aim says Sir Tom Stoppard, International PEN author advocate.
The books featured will be chosen from Free the Word! festival authors with commentaries, discussion topics, blogs and Free the Word! event podcasts from the writers, translators and other eminent literary figures. The book launching Free the Word! World Book Club is Tahmima Anam's The Golden Age. Anam was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, grew up in Paris, Bangkok and New York and studied at Harvard and in London. In 2001, she received a fellowship to research the Bangladesh War of Independence, travelling throughout the country to interview ex-freedom fighters, military officers, students and survivors of the 1971 war. A Golden Age is a fictionalised account of these war stories combined with Anam's family history.
Commentaries and readers' guides will be available in English, French and Spanish and a new book with be introduced every month.
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Further details about Free the Word! and the Free the Word! World Book Club can be found at www.internationalpen.org.uk/go/literary-events
For more information please contact Emily Bromfield, Communications Director:
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7 405 0338
Note to Editors:
About International PEN
Originally founded in 1921 to promote literature, today International PEN has 144 Centres in 102 countries across the globe. Our primary goal is to engage with, and empower, societies and communities across cultures and languages, through reading and writing. It recognises that literature is essential to understanding and engaging with other worlds; if you can't hear the voice of another culture how can you understand it? We believe that writers can play a crucial role in changing and developing civil society through the promotion of literature, international campaigning on issues such as freedom of expression and translation, and challenging and breaking down barriers and access to literature through publishing and distribution at international, regional and national levels. Its membership is open to all published writers who subscribe to the PEN Charter regardless of nationality, language, race, colour or religion. International PEN is a non-political organisation and has special consultative status at UNESCO and the United Nations.