Category Archives: Members’ Publications

Irish PEN 2013 Summer Newsletter

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Irish PEN’s summer 2013 newsletter
  • o New Members & Members’ News
  • o PEN/NEW VOICES Competition
  • o AGM 2013
  • o Irish PEN Award Dinner
  • o Irish PEN and Blasphemy
  • o Irish PEN co-sponsors Free Author Media
  • Training Day – held June 15th
  • o Upcoming Festivals
  • o PEN’s 45th International Writers Meeting
  • o Mary Russell: a talk on Writing & Travel in Syria
New Members

We extend a  warm welcome  to PEN’s  newest members: Morag Prunty, also known as Kate Kerrigan, will be known to many as a New York Times  bestselling author;  her latest release City of Hope, the second part  of  Ellie’s  trilogy, was published by Harper Collins in the U.S. on June 26th

 

Deirdre Conroy is responsible for the blog called Diary of  a  Dublin Landlady,  as  well as  many art  and architectural  reviews  in journals, and has  written chapters  of  published books, Painting Ireland and Great Irish Houses. Deirdre has just finished her first novel. http://dublinlandlady.blogspot.ie/

 

Rosemarie Rowley was born in Dublin. To date she has published five books of poetry, and has four times won the  Epic  award  in the  Scottish  International Poetry Competition. Her most  recent  books  are  Hot  Cinquefoil  Star (2002)  and In Memory  of  Her (2004) and (2008); see more at www.rosemarierowley.ie.

 

Padraig Hanratty has published one short story collection A Blanket of Blues,  in eformat and hardcopy,  as  well  as  a  novella  Dimestore Avenue Blues.  Pádraig has  also been published in Judas! Music magazine, Hot Press and Electric Acorn website.

 

Margaret  Scott is  an author,  blogger and guest blogger with Easons.  The Irish Independent reviewed her  novel Between  You and Me, as  “a  stylish, effervescent  page-turner, which is  sure  to strike  a chord with readers and propel Scott’s wry wit into the limelight”.  Margaret  has  also been published in the Irish Independent,  Irish Daily Mail and Woman’s Weekly.

 

Mayo native Elizabeth Reapy is  the  founding editor of Wordlegs, an online creative writing journal which has  spawned  numerous ebooks, a  short fiction collection (30 under 30), and as of 2012, a brand new festival: The Shore Writers Festival. Elizabeth was the Tyrone  Guthrie  Exchange  Irish Writer  in Varuna  for 2012,  she  is  a  pushcart  nominee and this  year,  the Arts  Council  awarded  her  a  Literature  Bursary to complete her debut short story collection. Elizabeth was Irish PEN’s nominated entry to the PEN/NEW VOICES AWARD 2013.  The Award is open to writers  of  short stories,  creative non-fiction, journalism and poetry who are  aged 18-30, and are put  forward by PEN Centres.  The  Award  aims to encourage  new writing worldwide,  to promote translation – especially into English,  French and Spanish – and to help emerging writers by providing advice  on how  best  to work  towards  a  career  as  a writer.  The  distinguished panel  of  judges  includes Carole Blake, who represents Irish PEN’s 2012 Award recipient Joseph O’Connor, and all of the judges will give feedback  to the  six  long-listed  competition finalists. The closing date for entries was on June 20th

 

Among our newest Associate Members, we welcome Joseph McCloskey,  Karen Ryan,  Paul  McNulty, Carolann Copland, Diane  Ward, Mark Edmund Hutcheson, and Colleen Nelligan Connolly.

 

Members’ News
We  were  delighted to hear Cyril McHale’s wonderfully written  piece about  his  grandfather,  titled  ‘Past Projections’,  broadcast on Sunday Miscellany on June 16th  You can listen back to the broadcast online by clicking on this link, or visit http://www.rte.ie/radio1/sunday-miscellany/.
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One  of  the  highlights  of  the  June  2013 celebrations of James Joyce’s Bloomsday was the launch by Joyce biographer, Peter Costello, of Brendan Lynch’s latest book, CITY OF WRITERS. The  Lives  and Homes  of  Dublin Authors. The launch was attended by seventyguests,  including Robert  Nicholson,  curator  of  the Writers Museum, and Guy St John Williams, grandson of novelist Oliver St John Gogarty.

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Irish PEN AGM 2013

 

We are happy to announce that following elections at Irish PEN’s AGM on June 7th

 

The Irish PEN Executive Committee  for  2013-14 is  as  follows: Kay Boland, Chairperson; Vanessa O’Loughlin,  Vice  Chairperson and PRO; Timmy Conway,  Treasurer; Brenda O’Hanlon, Correspondence Secretary; Máire Moriarty, Minutes Secretary; Emer Liston, Newsletter Editor  and Writers  in Prison Committee Secretary; Tony Gaughan, Honorary Committee Member.

 

We will  sorely miss the  huge  talent of our Social Media Co-ordinator, Chris Murray, who is no longer able to work in this capacity on PEN’s committee due to writing and editing commitments. As  well as having her work performed at last year’s Béal Festival, Chris is  a member of  the International PEN Women Writer’s Committee, and manages a successful Poetry Blog called Poethead’.

 

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Along with the loss of our Social Media Co-ordinator,  Irish  PEN  is also  urgently in need of a Membership Secretary, and an Email Correspondence  Secretary. Please  get  in touch if  you would like  to know  more about the essential (and never dull..!) roles mentioned here. 
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Irish PEN Award Dinner  2013

 

The  2013 Irish PEN Award for  Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature was awarded to John Banville,  the  novelist  and playwright  whose  most
impressive  works  include The  Sea and The  Book  of Evidence.  The  ceremony took  place  on the  22nd February  at  the  Royal  St.  George  Yacht  Club,  Dun Laoghaire. At the ceremony, the presenter of the award, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan described  the  recipient  as “a  writer  of  innumerable gifts,  of immense talent, of  superb  reputation in Ireland and abroad”.  Accepting the  award,  Banville expressed pleasure at receiving recognition in his own country, adding: “PEN is a splendid organization…that has done  great  work” and described his  first experience of PEN while working in Eastern Europe in the early 1980s. John Banville’s previous honours include the Booker Prize for his 2005 novel The Sea and the Franz Kafka prize in 2011. The Irish PEN award has been presented by Irish PEN since  1999; previous  winners  include Seamus  Heaney and Edna  O’Brien,  and the Award’s trophy was sponsored by www.writing.ie.
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Also, PEN warmly congratulates Maria Duffy on the launch and success of her third novel, The Letter (published by  Hachette Books Ireland).

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Irish PEN & Blasphemy

 

“The Executive Committee of Irish PEN, the Irish Centre  for  PEN  International,  campaigns  for  the offence  of  blasphemy to be removed from the Irish Constitution in 2013.  Human rights  attach to  individuals,  not to  states, organised groups or ideas. When governments seek to limit the rights of individuals to criticise, they  are  not  seeking,  as  they claim,  to  protect  faith  or belief. Rather, they are seeking increased power over their  citizens.  It  is  essential  to  maintain freedom  of  expression, ensuring writers are free to criticise. Irish PEN  calls  upon the  Government  to  restore  our reputation for free speech without delay”. Available to read in full at constitution.ie.
Two years ago, Irish PEN undertook to campaign for a referendum on Blasphemy and the Irish Constitution. Currently,  the  Government’s  policy is  that the Convention on the Constitution, a forum made up of 100 people with  an independent  Chairperson,  will convene to consider and make recommendations on certain topics as possible future amendments to the Constitution.  The Convention is to complete its work within 12 months,  and has  received  Irish PEN’s submission  on Blasphemy and the  importance  of removing it from the  Constitution without  further delay.  You can read Irish PEN’s submission here, and visit constitution.ie for further information.

 

Dublin City of Literature/ Irish PEN Free Author  Media Training Day
June  15th saw a  very special day-long event, sponsored by Dublin City of  Literature  and Irish PEN,  and run in conjunction with  Writing.ie and the  National  Emerging Writer progamme. Over  40 new and established writers who attended  this workshop found out  exactly how  to approach the media, how to win at radio and TV interviews and how to deliver  a  first  class  reading.  MTV  VJ and now corporate trainer Emma Ledden (pictured) and author Declan Hughes kept the audience busy making frantic notes in the morning, while in the afternoon, internet entrepreneur and Business Woman of the Year Darina Loakman,  explained  the  importance  having a  well thought  out  blog or  website,  of  understanding your target market and having a social media strategy that looks for quality over quantity. Participants,  many of  whom had had that  all- important  author  photo taken by professional photographer Paul Sherwood at a special rate, left the day significantly better prepared for the challenges of book promotion.  Describing it  as  ‘brilliant’  and ‘fantastic’, both the calibre of the presenters and the insights they offered were highly praised. PEN members  may book author  photographs separately to the event, at Paul Sherwood’s studio in Blackrock,  Co.  Dublin – contact  Paul  directly at www.sherwood.ie or by mobile 087 230 9096.

 

FESTIVAL FEVER

 

There  are  many exciting festivals  coming up for writers and book lovers in the autumn; the Mountains to Sea Festival again promises to be a feast, with an especially interesting programme  on Sunday September 8th in Dún Laoghaire; visit mountainstosea.ie for more details. Also, among the UNESCO Dublin City of Literature events coming up, one of the most exciting promises to be the Dublin Festival of  History which takes  place  between  27 th September and 10th October.

 

2013 is the year of the Gathering and the year when we mark  the  100th  anniversary of  momentous historical events in the city of Dublin. The upheaval of the  Dublin Lockout  and the  formation of  James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army are but two of a series of historical topics  which will  be  explored  in the  new Dublin Festival of History. More information will be made available  at www.cityofliterature.ie – always a space worth watching. Last year the Dublin Book Festival 2012 presented a packed programme of events, almost entirely free of charge  with  readings,  interviews, debates,  book launches  and workshops for adults,  children  and schools.

 

The  festival  found a  new home  in Smock Alley theatre,  Temple Bar,  and there  it  will return in 2013. The Dublin Book Festival team was  kind enough to lend support to Irish

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PEN and Front  Line  Defenders’ event  to mark November  15th,  which is  the  Day  of  the  Imprisoned Writer – a date marked by PEN Centres  around the world,  to recognize  and support  writers  who resist repression of  the basic human right to freedom of expression. Last  year’s event featured support and readings  from Brian Keenan, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill  and Justine McCarthy, and some  highlights  can be  viewed here, uploaded to YouTube at this link; we hope to work again with both Front Line Defenders and the Dublin Book Festival in 2013.
Pen’s 45th International Writers Meeting was held at Bled from May 8th to 12th 2013. Delegates representing 34 centres from across  the  world attended, welcomed by Dr Uros Grilc, the Slovenian Minister  for  Culture. Subsequently  they were entertained  by a presentation of  the  culture and literary traditions of the central region of Slovenia. The first theme discussed was ‘Literary Creation, from the Periphery to the Centre’; it was recognised that in terms  of  ideology this was  a  basic  dynamic in society. Each Periphery gradually draws nearer to the Centre,  eventually replacing it  and prompting the process to repeat itself.
The second topic was the writer as a traveller creating peace.  This  resonated  with the delegates.  Clearly travel  enables  people  to get beyond viewing other peoples in terms of their stereotypes. It also provides an opportunity to appreciate the  cultural  roots  and riches  of  those  residing in different  parts  of  the world. The result is a genuine respect and regard for the  otherness  in peoples. There  was  unanimity that extending boundaries in this way is a creator of peace both within and without. The  PEN Declaration on Digital  Freedom, passed  at the  International  Congress  in Gyeongju,  Korea,  in 2012 was discussed.
Four articles were appended to it  to clarify  how  it would affect  the  Targeting of Individuals, Censorship, Surveillance and Business and Human Rights.
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October  2013: Mary Russell,  writing  and  travelling in Syria
Mary Russell is well-known for The Blessings of a Good Thick  Skirt,  her  book  about  women  travellers  and explorers throughout the ages. In her latest book, My Home  is  Your Home:  A Journey  round Syria,  she employs the survival strategies of the solo traveller, seasoning a devil-may-care  attitude  with  a pinch  of common sense when taking on everything that comes her  way in Syria – be it a  pack of  feral  dogs, an important  host  or  a  chain-smoking Sufi  sheik. Essentially a  cultural  travel book,  appended  to it is a postscript which offers both a background and an update to the  present  political situation which readers will find useful. Join Irish PEN October 10th to hear riveting stories  and insights  from successful and admired travel writer, Mary Russell. www.maryrussell.info
Become a member of Irish PEN, or rejoin – it’s  quick, easy and hugely beneficial.  Simply  click on this link, or visit irishpen.com.
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Time to Say No ! Poems for Malala Yousafzai

Journalists and writers from Brazil, Austria, Germany, Argentina, Turkey, India, Bulgaria, Iran, Norway, Pakistan, Ireland, China, Estonia, Mexico and Vietnam, among others, participate in “Time to say No!”, An anthology  by Helmuth Niederle and Philo Ikonya, writers and editors.

Malala Yousafzai

Philo Ikonya and Helmuth Niederle have produced a book of over two hundred multilingual poems and protests themed in our ability as writers to refuse violence against girls like Malala who have sought with passion to be educated. The book will be launched on the 7th and 8th of March 2013 to coincide with international Women’s Day 2013.

Our sincere thanks to the Irish writers who participated and to Philo and Helmuth who have made the text available in pdf via a public drop-box link.

This link will lead readers to the words of contributors aged 11-80 who desire to support the education of girls and to protest the shooting of a child.

  • The right to education is a universal human right. It is a basic right which fosters and guarantees democracy founded on constitutional legality. This is independent of and not based on or limited by gender
  • Time to say No ! Poems for Malala Yousafzai 

Freedom of Expression in Ireland: A public interview with KEVIN MYERS

Should writers always speak their minds?

Do writers always speak their minds?

Do we have a free press in Ireland, or is the media controlled by a politically correct agenda?


Irish PEN in collaboration with DIT School of Media asks these questions and more in a public interview with Kevin Myers.

 Freedom of Expression in Ireland

8pm on March 14th 2013

 DIT School of Media, Aungier St.



Kevin Myers became a journalist upon leaving UCD, for want of anything else to do. Over forty years later, he remains a journalist for largely the same reason. He has been a newspaper columnist since 1980,and writes four columns a week. He has also reported on the wars in Northern Ireland, where he worked throughout the 1970s, Beirut and Bosnia, and also from Japan, Africa and Czechoslovakia.


Mr Myers was recently the subject of a complaint about an opinion piece on the subject of gay marriage.The complaint, made to the Press Ombudsman, was upheld – the ombudsman found that it breached principle regarding distinguishing fact from fiction and prejudice.This is not the first time that he has been the subject of controversy for his views, ranging from immigration, privatisation, child-rearing and gay rights; and it will not, one suspects, be the last.


Irish PEN is affiliated to PEN International, the worldwide association for writers, and is supported by Dublin City Arts Office. The aims of PEN are to promote literature, defend freedom of expression and promote co-operation among writers. PEN’s membership around the world numbers journalists, novelists, poets essayists and playwrights, as well as those with an interest in writing and communication between writers.

PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee works on behalf of imprisoned, censored and persecuted writers around the globe:  “Because writers speak their minds”.

For over fifty years, the School of Media at DIT has provided innovative educational programmes, earning an international reputation for innovating new courses as media technologies, as well as the way we use media in society, evolve. The School’s graduates emerge with the ability to generate ideas, the knowledge and understanding to develop ideas into concepts, and the production expertise to execute highly accomplished work.

Interviewer Tom Clonan is a lecturer specialising in news journalism, public affairs and crisis management at DIT Aungier St. He is a published author and has written for the Irish Times for the past 11 years, while also working in radio and television broadcasting. He is a retired Army Officer and like Kevin Myers, has experience of conflict in Ireland, the Middle East and former Yugoslavia. No stranger to controversy, Tom is regarded as one of Ireland’s foremost whistleblowers because of his experience of exposing crises in equality and the military in Ireland.


ALL WELCOME – ADMISSION €3/€6

SEATING LIMITED – BOOKING ESSENTIAL AT: http://kevinmyers-irishpen-dit.eventbrite.ie


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John Banville to receive the 2013 Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature

Irish PEN is delighted to honour author John Banville with the 2013 Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature.

In keeping with the tradition started in 1935, (when the WB Yeats Dinner took place), the annual Irish PEN Award is presented in the company of other leading writers. Members of Irish PEN, as well as previous winners, nominate and vote for the candidate. Since 1999, the award recipients have included John B Keane, Brian Friel, Edna O’Brien, William Trevor, John McGahern, Neil Jordan, Seamus Heaney, Jennifer Johnston, Maeve Binchy, Thomas Kilroy, Roddy Doyle, Brendan Kennelly and Joseph O’Connor.

John Banville’s career has seen him presented with numerous awards. His novel The Book of Evidence was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Guinness Peat Aviation award in 1989. His eighteenth novel, The Sea, won the Booker Prize in 2005. He was awarded the Franz Kafka Prize in 2011 and is a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Banville also writes as Benjamin Black and will write a new Philip Marlowe novel for publication in 2013 featuring the hero-detective of Raymond Chandler’s best-selling books, under his Benjamin Black pseudonym. He is considered by critics as a master stylist of language, and his writing has been described as perfectly crafted, beautiful, dazzling.

Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will present the PEN Award for outstanding achievement at this year’s Award Dinner, which takes place at 7pm on Friday, February 22nd at the Royal St George Yacht Club, Dún Laoghaire.

To avoid disappointment, we urge early booking – available online at this link: http://irishpendinner2013.eventbrite.com

Notes to Irish PEN Award Dinner guests:

This year Irish PEN has regrettably lost its Arts Council funding, and therefore your membership fees are essential to keep us running. You can now choose to renew your membership here, when purchasing your dinner ticket. Attendance at the dinner is open to all.

Guests arrive for 7pm & please bring your eTicket to collect your dinner ticket at the door. We very much look forward to meeting you on February 22nd.

 

The Irish PEN Award for Literature 2013; request for nominations

2013 PEN Award nominations


In 1998, Irish PEN set up an award to honour an Irish-born writer who has made an outstanding contribution to Irish Literature.This Award is for a significant body of work, written and produced over a number of years, and is open to novelists,  playwrights, poets, scriptwriters etc.

Members of Irish PEN, as well as previous winners nominate and vote for the candidate. In keeping with the tradition started at the W.B. Yeats dinner in 1935, the writer is presented with the Award in the company of other writers at our annual dinner.

In 1999 the first Irish PEN Award was presented to John B. Keane. Since then Brian Friel, Edna O’Brien, William Trevor, John McGahern, Neil Jordan, Seamus Heaney, Jennifer Johnston, Maeve Binchy, Thomas Kilroy, Roddy Doyle, Colm Tóibín and Joseph O’Connor have been recipients.

We request your nominations for next year’s Award, and very much look forward to seeing you at our Award Dinner in February.

The 2012 Irish PEN Award for Literature:  https://irishpen.com/wordpress/the-irish-pen-2012-award-and-dinner-a-photo-montage/

You can email your nominations to this address : irishpen2@gmail.com 
Postal Address for nominations : c/o Irish PEN Correspondence Secretary, United Arts Club, 3 Upper Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2.

 

 

 

 

PEN International Declaration on Digital Freedom

PEN recognizes the promise of digital media as a means of fulfilling the fundamental right of free expression. At the same time, poets, playwrights, essayists, novelists, writers, bloggers, and journalists are suffering violations of their right to freedom of expression for using digital media. Citizens in many countries have faced severe restrictions in their access to and use of digital media, while governments have exploited digital technologies to suppress freedom of expression and to surveil individuals. The private sector and technology companies in particular have at times facilitated government censorship and surveillance. PEN therefore declares the following:

1. All persons have the right to express themselves freely through digital media without fear of reprisal or persecution.

a. Individuals who use digital media enjoy full freedom of expression protections under international laws and standards.

b. Governments must not prosecute individuals or exact reprisals upon individuals who convey information, opinions, or ideas through digital media.

c. Governments must actively protect freedom of expression on digital media by enacting and enforcing effective laws and standards.

2. All persons have the right to seek and receive information through digital media.

a. Governments should not censor, restrict, or control the content of digital media, including content from domestic and international sources.

b. In exceptional circumstances, any limitations on the content of digital media must adhere to international laws and standards that govern the limits of freedom of expression, such as incitement to violence.

c. Governments should not block access to or restrict the use of digital media, even during periods of unrest or crisis. Controlling access to digital media, especially on a broad scale, inherently violates the right to freedom of expression.

d. Governments should foster and promote full access to digital media for all persons.

3. All persons have the right to be free from government surveillance of digital media.

a. Surveillance, whether or not known by the specific intended target, chills speech by establishing the potential for persecution and the fear of reprisals. When known, surveillance fosters a climate of self-censorship that further harms free expression.

b. As a general rule, governments should not seek to access digital communications between or among private individuals, nor should they monitor individual use of digital media, track the movements of individuals through digital media, alter the expression of individuals, or generally surveil individuals.

c. When governments do conduct surveillance—in exceptional circumstances and in connection with legitimate law enforcement or national security investigations—any surveillance of individuals and monitoring of communications via digital media must meet international due process laws and standards that apply to lawful searches, such as obtaining a warrant by a court order.

d. Full freedom of expression entails a right to privacy; all existing international laws and standards of privacy apply to digital media, and new laws and standards and protections may be required.

e. Government gathering and retention of data and other information generated by digital media, including data mining, should meet international laws and standards of privacy, such as requirements that the data retention be time-limited, proportionate, and provide effective notice to persons affected.

4. The private sector, and technology companies in particular, are bound by the right to freedom of expression and human rights.

a. The principles stated in this declaration equally apply to the private sector.

 

b. Companies must respect human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, and must uphold these rights even when national laws and regulations do not protect them.

c. Technology companies have a duty to determine how their products, services, and policies impact human rights in the countries in which they intend to operate. If violations are likely, or violations may be inextricably linked to the use of products or services, the companies should modify or withdraw their proposed plans in order to respect human rights.

d. Technology companies should incorporate freedom of expression principles into core operations, such as product designs with built-in privacy protections.

e. If their operations are found to have violated the right to freedom of expression, technology companies should provide restitution to those whose rights were violated, even when governments do not provide remedies.

 

http://www.pen-international.org/pen-declaration-on-digital-freedom/

Day of the Imprisoned Writer Event on November 15th 2012


Images: Brian Keenan , Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and Justine McCarthy reading at The Day of the Imprisoned Writer Event in collaboration between Irish PEN and Front Line Defenders. The New Theatre , in Dublin’s Temple Bar.


Day of the Imprisoned Writer
15 November 2012
The New Theatre
43 East Essex St., Temple Bar @ 5.30pm

 

 

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.

 

On 15 November former Beirut hostage and writer Brian Keenan, poet Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill and journalist Justine McCarthy will read from the work of writers based around the world who have been targeted because they had the courage to speak their minds. These writers challenge injustice and confront the governments and oppressive regimes who see every criticism as a threat to their power. The human voice is one of the most powerful weapons in defence of human rights and against tyranny, and the writers whose work will be profiled on November 15 have paid a very high price for their courage including:

 

Chinese poet Zhu Yufu was imprisoned for seven years last December, charged with ‘inciting subversion of state power’. The charges reportedly relate to a poem he wrote, as well as other online writings, interviews he gave to foreign media and donations he collected on behalf of families of people jailed for their pro-democracy and human rights activities.

 

Turkish human rights lawyer and writer Muharrem Erbey has been held in prison since 2009 charged with having links with the illegal PKK. Muharrem Erbey is a writer and columnist and member of the Kurdish Writers’ Association.

 

On 02 September Iranian journalist and women’s rights activist Jila Baniyaghoob began a one year prison term because of her work as a journalist and human rights campaigner, documenting the post-election demonstrations in Iran, and state violence.  Her husband, and fellow journalist, Bahman Ahmadi Amou’i is also in prison because of his work as editor of a leading business magazine.

 

Writers, journalists and poets often force us to confront the reality of the world we live in. They challenge the myths and the self-aggrandising propaganda to expose the truth – the violence and the repression that is inflicted on a daily basis on those who refuse to remain silent in the face of injustice.

 The Imprisoned Writer; readings with Brian Keenan and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, takes place at 5.15pm in Temple Bar’s New Theatre, with light refreshments served in Connolly Books afterwards. This is a co-event with Front Line Defenders, a Dublin-based international organisation dedicated to protecting human rights defenders at risk, people who work, non-violently, for any or all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

Eventbrite Link for this event is at : http://theimprisonedwriter.eventbrite.com/


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PEN International Women Writer's Committee ; a Letter to President Putin.

President Vladimir Putin

President of the Russian Federation

Re. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Your Excellency,

The Women Writers Committee of PEN International, the largest worldwide association of writers with centers in over 100 countries, continues to be extremely concerned about our jailed Russian colleagues, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, members of the Pussy Riot band who are still incarcerated. We welcome the release of Ekaterina Samusevich.

Artists, governmental and religious leaders have all spoken out against the harsh treatment these women received after a protest in the Moscow Cathedral which did no damage. They were convicted of hooliganism and sentenced to two years imprisonment, after being held in jail for many months without trial. What has happened to them is completely inconsistent with a healthy society that permits freedom of expression.

We continue to call for the immediate release of Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.

Sincerely,

Ekbal Baraka

Chair, PEN International Women Writers Committee

 

Address

 

You can send messages to President Putin on the Kremlin website

http://eng.letters.kremlin.ru/

 

Or by mail:

 

President Vladimir Putin

President of the Russian Federation

23, Ilyinka Street,
Moscow, 103132

Russia

 

You may find that the Russian ambassador in your own country is more likely to respond to your appeals, so we recommend that you either write to him or her directly or send a copy of your appeal. You can find the Russian embassy in your country here.

 

Messages of solidarity to the prisoners can be sent via the FreePussyRiot website:www.freepussyriot.org

 

For further information please contact Sara Whyatt at PEN International Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International, Brownlow House, 50-51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER Tel: +44 (02) 20 7405 0338 Fax: +44 (0) 20 74050339 Email: sara.whyatt@pen-international.org

 

 

Sara Whyatt | Deputy Director | Sous-Directeur | Sub-Directora | PEN International

t.             +44 (0)20 7405 0338       | m.             +44 (0)7824640527       | e. Twitter | Facebook | www.pen-international.org

 

International PEN Congress 2012

PEN Members from over 80 countries around the world gather for prominent literary gathering– The 78th PEN International Congress

 The following report on the 78th PEN International Congress is by J. Anthony Gaughan:

The 78th Pen International Congress was held in Gyeongju, South Korea, from 9 to 15 September 2012.  Eighty centres from around the world were represented at the Congress.  The 300 delegates were formally welcomed by Gil-Won Lee, president of Korean Pen.

In his key-note address John Ralston Saul emphasised the crucial role of Pen in defending and safe-guarding freedom of expression, the well-spring of democracy and the foremost bulwark of human rights.  The theme of theCongress was ‘Literature, media and human rights’.  In the light of the remarkable development of digital media Congress approved for distribution a ‘Declaration of Free Expression and Digital Technologies’ which deals with clear and urgent questions about the relationship between digital technologies and freedom of expression.  The Pen principles outlined in the declaration apply to the Internet, blogs, micro-blogs, social networks, email, voice-over, Internet Protocol calling and texting and electronic devices such as computers, cellular phones, smart phones, mini-computers, and tablets.

Reports were presented and discussed at the various committees: Writers for Peace Committee, Writers in Prison Committee, Women Writers’ Committee and Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee.  The reports to the Writers for Peace Committee covered the well-known areas of conflict around the world.  Some were quite enlightening and provided a much more complex picture of these areas than that presented by the Western media outlets. 

The Writers in Prison Committee had to hand on updated list of writers who during the past year had been killed, imprisoned or otherwise victimised for campaigning for and exercising freedom of expression and for their attempts to expose corruption in autocratic regimes of the left and the right.  The steps Pen had taken to assist them was discussed and how efforts to this end could be made more effective.  Resolutions and recommendations advocating the lifting of laws banning freedom of expression and requesting the release of journalists and writers in prison for defending human rights and the exercise of free speech were passed and forwarded to the authorities in Belarus, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Honduras, Iran, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Syria and Vietnam. 

Reports to the Women Writers’ Committee highlighted the continuing appalling plight of women in Islamic countries.  An unusual issue – the proposed international standardisation of the Portuguese language – was brought before the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee.  This concerned a project by the Portuguese government to fundamentally reform the Portuguese language.  Their stated aim is to make the language more amenable to use in the electronic media and to make it more user-friendly to those speaking it in countries beyond Portugal, such as Brazil, East Timor, Mozambique etc.  Portuguese academics, scholars and writers strongly oppose the project arguing that it will lead to an unacceptable redaction of the language.  After a number of informative presentations the Pen Committee guaranteed its support for their stand.

John Ralston Saul was elected to serve as president for another three years.  The financial statement which indicated a significant credit balance was passed.  It was announced that the next Congress would be held next September at Reykjavik, in Iceland.

PEN International press Release on the 78th PEN International Congress

Gyeongju, Korea– Over 300 delegates have gathered in Korea’s historical city Gyeongju for the 78th PEN International Congress. The Congress was launched by host centre President Gil-Won Lee, which this year explores themes around Literature, Media and Human Rights.

PEN’s diverse and unique community of writers and members gather each year to share ideas, discuss new campaigns and initiatives,highlight emerging issues and challenges to freedom of expression around the world.

The Congress will see keynote speeches by Nobel Laureates , Wole Soyinka and Jean Marie Gustave Le Clezio as well as training sessions and workshops, lectures, literary events and networking sessions. The annual congress is an opportunity for members from all centers to share their diverse expertise and experience.

In his opening speech, PEN International President John Ralston Saul echoed the core purpose of PEN around the world:

 “Through all of [our] work we must constantly remindourselves that our cause is literature.  Literature and freedom of expression are neither a nicety nor a legal technicality.  They are a way of imagining  the relationship between peoples.  Between people.  People who may disagree or dislike each other or, in fact, know nothing about each other.”

 At the opening Ceremony, PEN International announced its Declaration on Free Expression and Digital Technologies, which will address concerns around digital technology, particularly freedom of expression through digital media.

 PEN plays a global role in promoting literature and protecting freedom of expression.

Notes to editors:

PEN International celebrates literature and promotes freedom of expression. Founded in 1921, our global community of writers now comprises 144 Centres spanning more than 100 countries. Our programmes,campaigns, events and publications connect writers and readers for globalsolidarity and cooperation. PEN International is a non-political organizationand holds consultative status at the United Nations and UNESCO.

For press and other enquiries please contact:
PEN International Campaigns & Communications Manager Sahar Halaimzai.
Email: Sahar.Halaimzai@pen-international.org
Tel: +44 (0)20 7405 0338
Mob: +44 (0)7596 767912

The imprisonment and conviction of Pussy Riot

PEN International statement :

“PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee is deeply concerned at the two year prison sentence handed down today to the three members of the Russian punk band, Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samusevich under Article 213 of the Russian Criminal Code. The sentence was read today at the Khamovnichesky Court in Moscow.

The three women had been held in custody since early March with their trial not beginning until July.

During the trial the women were locked in a bulletproof cage and according to their lawyers were not giving food or water for long periods of time. The prosecution and its witnesses argued that the bands act had betrayed a deep hatred of all Orthodox Christians and was not motivated by their outrage at the Putin regime, as the women had stated. ”

Read More : http://www.pen-international.org/newsitems/russia-pussy-riot-band-members-jailed-for-two-years/