Author Archives: Vanessa O'loughlin

PEN Appalled by Savage Attack on Charlie Hebdo

Irish PEN are fully in support of the statement by PEN International about the horrific attack 7th January on French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo:

PEN International and 42 PEN Centres around the world condemn the unprecedented attack on the office of the French publication Charlie Hebdo in Paris today in which 12 people died and seven were injured.

This is not the first time that journalists, editors, writers, cartoonists  and translators have been targeted for expressing opinions that may offend, outrage or shock sections of society. But there has never been an assault on such a scale in Europe. There can be no justification for using violence to silence or intimidate those who speak out, no matter how offensive their views.

In the face of such violence, it is incumbent on all governments and religious leaders to strengthen their commitment to press freedom and to safeguard freedom of expression as a fundamental human right. This attack must be investigated promptly and impartially in accordance with international standards and the perpetrators brought to justice.

John Ralston Saul, President of PEN International said: “PEN is appalled by today’s savage attack on Charlie Hebdo. Today the entire PEN family stands in solidarity with journalists in France, and all over the world, who are increasingly subjected to violence for exercising their right to freedom of expression.”

Condemning the cowardly attack on the office of the magazine, Jean-Luc Despax, President of French PEN said: “Despite this atrocious act, freedom of expression remains intact, whether expressed through art, satire or analysis.”

– See more at:

Brian Friel RIP

It is with immense sadness that members of Irish PEN learned of the death of Brian Friel, a winner of the Irish PEN Award in 2000, Brian was President of Irish PEN from 2003 onwards. He was an outstanding playwright and shed lustre on the Irish literary scene for many years. He will be greatly missed by his friends and admirers worldwide and not least by members of Irish PEN.

Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin (Chair)


Day of the Imprisoned Writer

Day of Impr Writer LOGO (2)Mark the Day of the Imprisoned Writer @ the Dublin Book Festival; book your ticket at:, and listen to Arena on RTÉ Radio 1 on Wednesday, November 6th to hear more about the writers involved around the world –

Please see below for details of how to nominate your choice of author for Irish PEN’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature –

At 6pm on November 15th, as part of the Dublin Book Festival at Smock Alley Theatre, Irish PEN looks forward to marking the Day of the Imprisoned Writer with poet, scriptwriter and broadcaster Theo Dorgan, international news analyst and Newstalk broadcaster Shona Murray, and Afghanistan-based journalist and Human Rights defender Jamila Omar.

Every year, around the world, the Day of the Imprisoned Writer celebrates and supports writers who resist repression of the basic human right to freedom of expression and who stand up to attacks made against their right to impart information and insight.

Theo DorganIn a 60 minute event, Theo, Shona and Jamila will read from the work of writers based around the world who have been punished and targeted because they had the courage to speak their minds; challenging injustice and confronting governments and oppressive regimes far afield and closer to home.

The Day of the Imprisoned Writer is proudly hosted by Irish PEN and Front Line Defenders. Irish PEN are delighted that it will form part of the Dublin Book Festival for the first time this year.

Tickets to this event are free but limited – we look forward to seeing you there.

Calling all PEN members – please submit your nominations for Irish PEN ‘s 2014 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature.

Front Line DefendersYou may submit your nominations to this address, and renew your membership sub at Past PEN Award winners include John Banville, Joseph O’Connor, Brendan Kennelly, Roddy Doyle, Neil Jordan, Edna O’Brien, Irish PEN’s President Brian Friel, William Trevor, Jennifer Johnston and Thomas Kilroy. Past Award winners who are no longer with us include Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney and Maeve Binchy. We will update you on details of our Award presentation and dinner, which will take place in early 2014.

Please see for more information about Irish PEN, our members and our annual award.

You can view the flyer here.

Shona Murray