I write this month with news of many exciting activities that have been happening at International PEN. First I would like to tell you about the Writers in Prison Committee Conference that I attended in
I visited Flemish PEN on June 13th and spent some time discussing ‘The Writer's Role in a World of Conflict'. It felt good to be able to visit our friends at this Centre and their hospitality warmed my heart.
I also want to share with you the news that the first issue of PEN International magazine for 2009, Heaven and Earth, has been published. You can download the online issue from the International PEN website and read a selection of great poetry, stories and essays. Every PEN Centre receives two copies of the printed issue so do remember to ask your President or Secretary if you can borrow it to read - or subscribe to it yourself through the International PEN website!
Lastly, please do forward this newsletter to your PEN friends in your Centre and to other friends interested in the work of PEN. It is very important that we share our news so that we are always informed of the different activities taking place in every corner of the globe.
Until the next time.
We are now looking forward to being together at the 75th annual Congress, which will take place in
As I know you are aware, we are working to keep the business of the Assembly which is the Annual General Meeting of International PEN to a minimum and to ensure that literature plays a key role in our gathering. The 19th -22nd of October will be devoted to the Congress and from the 23rd to the 25th we will enjoy Free the Word!
Free the Word! celebrates the best in world literature and in particular promotes literature in translation, and presents eminent and emerging voices. We recently launched the Free the Word! World Book Club featuring authors from the festival on the International PEN website.
I look forward to seeing you in
Nicaraguan PEN members are visiting 32 schools and universities across the country to initiate conversations about reading and writing, national literature, and the freedom to write. They plan to develop a project on a wider scale in the coming years.
PEN International: Heaven and Earth,
We are currently accepting submissions for the Autumn/Winter 2009 edition, ‘Context: Asia Pacific', celebrating contemporary writing from the furthest reaches of Australasia to the Indian Subcontinent and into Afghanistan, plus all of East and Southeast Asia. Submissions are welcome from writers from these regions or residing there, as well as non-inhabitants who have written on or travelled through these parts of the world. Submission deadline is 25 July 2009. To contribute your work please contact email@example.com
International PEN's Free the Word! festival of world literature is going global, beginning on 23 October 2009 in
In June we also launched the Free the Word! World Book Club. The books chosen will be from Free the Word! festival authors. The first book, for June's book club, was Tahmima Anam's A Golden Age, a fictionalised account of the Bangladesh War of Independence combined with Anam's family history. Anam wrote two specially commissioned pieces for the Book Club including a reflection on her inspiration for the novel.
The July book is Kamila Shamsie's Burnt Shadows. Commentaries and readers' guides are available on our website in English, French and Spanish at http://www.internationalpen.org.uk. A blog has also been launched for book club readers to share their thoughts: http://freetheblog.typepad.com/. For more information and to get involved in the book club visit http://www.internationalpen.org.ukhttp://www.internationalpen.org.uk/go/news/free-the-word-around-the-world.
PEN Committee News
Writers for Peace
The Writers for Peace Committee have launched a new blog ‘A Permanent Whisper as a Cry for Peace'. It is featured within the website of Portuguese PEN and has been set up to provide a space for discussion about peace and war ‘as writers, not as sociologists or politicians'. To access the blog visit http://permanentwhisper.penclubeportugues.org/
Judith Buckrich's term as Chair of the Women Writers' Committee will end at the International PEN Congress in
Lucina Kathmann and Dorothea Weis (Tsung Su), both members of the Women Writers' Committee, attended the 53rd CSW Session (Commission on The Status of Women of the United Nations) in March this year. The stated priority theme of the 53rd CSW Session was : The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including care-giving in the context of HIV/AIDS. This primary concern brought a heavy presence of male participants to the multi-angled discussions of HIV/AIDS at the parallel NGO panels during the Session. Lucina and Dorothea's full reports will be in the next IPWWC newsletter that will be published this summer. For more information visit http://www.ipwwc.org
Translation and Linguistic Rights
The Translation & Linguistic Rights Committee met in
Writers in Prison
In April, Mexican author and activist Lydia Cacho spoke about her experience of persecution during a discussion entitled ‘Hell on Earth' at PEN's second Free the Word! festival in
For World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, the WiPC made public its ‘Declaration in Defence of the Freedom to Write in the Americas', signed by more than 50 well known writers from the region such as Paul Auster, Ernesto Cardenal, Lydia Cacho, Noam Chomsky, Junot Diaz and Derek Walcott. We also released a postcard action calling for an end to the impunity surrounding journalist murders and disappearances in
At the beginning of June, the WiPC conference was held in
For more information on the campaign and how you can get involved, please see Freedom to write in the Americas (English) or Libertad para escribir en las Americas (Spanish), or contact Tamsin Mitchell, WiPC researcher for the Americas, at firstname.lastname@example.org
- San Miguel PEN has a new website. Visit it at http://www.sanmiguelpen.com
- Sydney PEN has launched the June 2009 edition of their magazine. Find the magazine on their website at http://www.pen.org.au/. This online magazine will be published twice annually.
- South African PEN announced the winners of the first PEN/Studzinski Literary Award for original short stories in English by African authors. The award encourages new creative writing in
Africaand is open to all citizens of African countries writing in English. From 827 entries ranging from ages 10 to 101, Nobel Laureate J.M.Coetzee gave the first prize to Karen Jayes's short story Where he will leave his shoes. Andrew Saloman's A visit to Dr. Mamba was awarded second place. To view the full list of 2009 PEN/Studzinski finalists, visit: http://www.sapen.co.za/UpdatesStudzinski.aspx.
- The 4th Regional Conference of the Trieste PEN Centre will take place in the period 1-4 October 2009 in
. The theme, ‘The literary routes of the Trieste Mediterranean', takes the conference through European borders and beyond. The Trieste PEN Centre has also recently launched a blog allowing a space for international dialogue and current updates of the Centre's activities. The blog can be found at http://penclubtrieste.blogspot.com/
- In conjunction with Refugee Week, Scottish PEN has invited poetry and prose from refugees, asylum seekers, and those whose first language is not English to appear alongside the work of professional writers and Scottish PEN members. The writing, inspired by the theme of 'Home', will be posted on both the Scottish Refugee Council and Scottish PEN websites from 15th June 2009. In addition, plans are now underway for a regular Scottish PEN online literary magazine which will appear on a different theme later this year.
- Due to a lack of literature regarding PEN in the Chinese language, PEN writer Yu Zhang is writing a book about the early history of International PEN. Within the book entitled World of Writers, he plans to have a chapter dedicated to each PEN Centre. He needs help collecting biographies of founding members and photos from each Centre. Please submit information in English or its original language. He plans to publish the book for the 90th anniversary of International PEN in 2011. Send your information as well as any suggestions to email@example.com
- Macedonian PEN: Diversity has posted new material on their website: http://www.diversity.org.mk/ . Diversity is an International PEN electronic collection of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. To view the new poetry selections by Triztan G. Vindtorn in the original Norwegian as well as Macedonian and English translations, go to http://diversity.org.mk/Sodrzini.asp?idEKniga=218.
News from ElsewhereOn April 16th, Azar Nafisi attended an evening at the Stockholm Cultural Centre dedicated to the writer, journalist and playwright Dawit Isaak from
- http://www.PetitionOnline.com/D_Isaak/. Please add your voice.
- A call for nominations for Sheikh Zayed Book Award was issued May 20, 2009. The awards programme recognises writers, translators, novelists and publishers who contribute to promoting the Arabic culture. There are nine separate awards which will be open until September 15, 2009. The prizes range from 750,000 to 1 million Durhams (US$ 205,000 - 270,000). An Arabic and English website has been launched with all of the latest information regarding the programme: www.zayedaward.com. For further information contact Karin.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next newsletter will be available in September 2009.
PEN Centres: please send your news for inclusion to Emily Bromfield, email@example.com
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. We believe that writers can play a crucial role in changing and developing civil society. We do this through the promotion of literature, international campaigning on issues such as translation and freedom of expression and improving access to literature at international, regional and national levels. Our 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.International PEN, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER
International PEN is a registered charity, number 1117088
To find out more visit www.internationalpen.org.uk
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