Category Archives: Newsletters

A letter from our membership secretary.

– The Irish PEN AGM takes place at the UAC at 7p.m., Thursday May 10th –
– Members’ news – send us news of this year’s publications, launches and events –
– Writing Memoir event: 8p.m. at the UAC on Thursday, May 10th –

Emer Liston , Irish PEN Membership Secretary


” We have had a very eventful and successful year at Irish PEN. From our first event after the summer, Writing for children and young people, through to our Annual PEN Award Dinner at which Joseph O’Connor’s outstanding achievement in literature was marked by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, we’ve enjoyed great company and rich discussion about the work of writing in Ireland today.

At our most recent event, we enjoyed the company of Morgan Llewellyn and Orna Ross in an evening of stories and insight into Historical Fiction and a feast of talent is in store on the 10th of this month, when we look at Writing Memoir, with Molly McCloskey, Lia Mills, Sheila Maher and John MacKenna. This event is proving very popular, and you can conveniently book your place online by clicking here.

Our news section in will keep you up to date on our participation in campaigns and letters to publications here in Ireland, including our campaign on blasphemy, and correspondence calling for action in Syria, published in last weekend’s Irish Times.  Meanwhile, please let us know about your news this year – we are compiling our latest newsletter and wish to feature and promote new publications, launches and the successes of all members and associates of PEN. 


Finally, and most importantly, our AGM takes place immediately before our Writing Memoir event, at 7 p.m. on May 10th, at the United Arts Club. All members are most welcome to attend.

We look forward to meeting you next Thursday, and hearing your news.”

Warmest regards,
Emer Liston,  Membership Secretary at Irish PEN.


Details of our Next Event are carried on our homepage and at this link

Irish PEN membership and renewal details are available here

Updates from the Copyright Review Committee 2012

As the title of the post says, this post has three updates about the work of  the Copyright Review Committee. First, following a large number of requests for an extension of time to reply to the Committee’s Consultation Paper, the Committee has decided to extend the deadline for receipt of submissions to 5.00pm on Thursday 31 May 2012. Second, the text to three of the questions on the first page of the Committee’s online questionnaire has been updated to confirm that certain information provided by respondents (such as postal address, email address, and website) will not be published.”

Those members and associates of Irish PEN with an interest in the work of the Copyright Review Committee 2012 should take note that the deadline for submissions has been extended to May the 31st 2012.

Links and Information regarding how to submit and upcoming public meetings on copyright reform is available here , 

  • email the Review,
  • write to Copyright Review, Room 517, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, or
  • complete the Committee’s online questionnaire and answer the last question by confirming that you wish to attend the meeting.

The bulk of information and links to this review are constantly updated in the website


The Copyright Review Committee publishes a Consultation Paper on copyright and innovation and calls for further submissions

The Copyright Review Committee has today published a wide-ranging Consultation Paper (PDF, 1.4MB) which examines the current Copyright legislative framework to identify any areas of the legislation that might be deemed to create barriers to innovation.

The fundamental aim of this Paper is to begin the process of sketching reforms to Irish copyright law to further innovation without denying protection to those who need copyright law to innovate.

The Copyright Review Committee was established on 9th May 2011 by Mr Richard Bruton, TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation with the following terms of reference:

  1. Examine the present national Copyright legislation and identify any areas that are perceived to create barriers to innovation.
  2. Identify solutions for removing these barriers and make recommendations as to how these solutions might be implemented through changes to national legislation.
  3. Examine the US style ‘fair use’ doctrine to see if it would be appropriate in an Irish/EU context.
  4. If it transpires that national copyright legislation requires to be amended but cannot be amended, (bearing in mind that Irish copyright legislation is bound by the European Communities Directives on Copyright and Related Rights and other international obligations) make recommendations for changes to the EU Directives that will eliminate the barriers to innovation and optimise the balance between protecting creativity and promoting and facilitating innovation.

More information on consultation , fair use and copyright reform submissions are available at,

2012 Cardiff International Poetry Competition



2012 Cardiff International Poetry Competition

Is your poetry worth £5,000?

Closing Date: Friday 2 March 2012

The closing date for the 2012 Cardiff International Poetry Competition is now only weeks away. The competition, administrated by Literature Wales, is accessible to all; it doesn’t matter if you are an established poet or just dabble with verse now and then. All entries to the competition will be judged anonymously, so this is a great opportunity to have your poetry judged on its own merits. The first prize-winner will walk way with a cheque for £5,000 for just one poem. Further prizes available are £500 for second place, £250 for third plus five runners-up will receive £50 each.

The hard tasking of judging the 2012 competition will be down to esteemed poets Sinéad Morrissey, Patrick McGuinness and filter judge Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch. For more information on the judges visit:

If you think you have what it takes to delight the judges and get your hands on the top prize of £5,000, then send us your poems now. Just make sure your poem is no longer than 50 lines long, is unpublished, in English and is not a translation of another author’s work. Send it, along with your entry form and payment, to Literature Wales.

The closing date is Friday 2 March 2012.

To download an entry form, visit:

To receive an entry form through the post, send a stamped, self addressed envelope to: Literature Wales, CIPC12 Entry Form, Mount Stuart House, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff, Wales, CF10 5FQ

The Cardiff International Poetry Competition is supported by Cardiff Council.

For further details contact Literature Wales on: 029 2047 2266 /



For more information contact:

Literature Wales,

Chief Executive: Lleucu Siencyn,

Mount Stuart House, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff, CF10 5FQ

029 2047 2266 /


Notes to Editors:

  • Literature Wales was formed in April 2011. The Chief Executive of Literature Wales is Lleucu Siencyn.  Yr Academi Gymreig / The Welsh Academy, the Society for Writers of Wales, and Tŷ Newydd Writers’ Centre are part of Literature Wales. Its many projects and activities include Wales Book of the Year, the National Poet of Wales, Writers on Tour funding scheme, writing courses at Tŷ Newydd, Translators’ House Wales, funding and advice for writers, the BayLit and Tŷ Newydd festivals, Young People’s Writing Squads, fieldworkers in the south Wales valleys and north Wales.
  • Literature Wales is one of six national arts companies in Wales, each representing different artform genres. Literature Wales is the Arts Council’s agent to develop and implement literature activity.
  • Literature Wales works with the support of the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government.
  • Yr Academi Gymreig was established in 1959, following discussions between poets Bobi Jones and Waldo Williams. The English-language branch, The Welsh Academy, was formed ten years later.
  • Tŷ Newydd Writers’ Centre was founded in 1990. National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke is the President of Tŷ Newydd.
  • Literature Wales is one of the resident organisations of the Wales Millennium Centre, where it runs the Glyn Jones Centre.


A Letter from John Ralston Saul

Dear friends, Dear PEN members,

A few days from now a large delegation – ten of us – will go to Mexico City . This will be a strong expression of solidarity for Mexican writers and journalists. It will also be unprecedented, with the entire Executive going – Hori Takeaki , Eric Lax and myself – as well as the Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee – Marian Botsford Fraser – and representatives of all four North American Centres, as well as the English and Japanese, all going to stand in public with our Mexican colleagues. Émile Martel, Russell Banks, Adrienne Clarkson, Gillian Slovo, Larry Siems and Adam Somers, as well as Renu Mandhane, head of the International Human Rights Program of the University of Toronto ’s Faculty of Law, will join the Executive.

We will be working with the three Mexican PEN Centres – Mexico , Guadalajara and San Miguel Allende. The culmination of this will be a public event organized by Jennifer Clement, President of PEN Mexico , and her members, involving the delegation and some 50 Mexican writers on Sunday, January 29.

There is also a public letter of solidarity to Mexican writers which I hope you will all sign. It is coming to you separately.

This is not a delegation of experts. It is a delegation of writers using our public voice. And what we do and say will be quickly transmitted to you in the hope that you will respond in your own countries.

This is all part of a sustained Mexican PEN campaign. Recently the Day of the Dead initiative initiated by Jens Lohman of Danish PEN and Tony Cohan of San Miguel PEN, spread our concerns about the threats faced by Mexican journalists throughout our membership. We hope that these new Mexican initiative will take on our campaign a stage further.

The PEN International Website

A lot of you are already sending material to the new website. This is what we need: Centres all over the world telling the rest of PEN about their work and their risks. Please contribute.


Finally, these last few weeks have been moving and historically important for Czech writers and for the belief in freedom of expression that all of us have. First, our former President, Jiří Gruša, one of the leading dissident writers of the post war period died. Then Václav Havel, about whom a great deal has rightly been written around the world. Then Ivan Jirous, whom Paul Wilson called the “leader of the Cultural Opposition”. Jirous was a poet, essayist and leader of the psychedelic rock band Plastic People of the Universe. The struggle to get him out of prison in part inspired the Chapter 77 movement. And finally, Josef Škvorecký has died, another great writer and leading dissident. Living in exile in Toronto he created 68 Publishers in 1971 and for two decades published banned Czech and Slovak writers. The books then made their way illegally back into Czechoslovakia . Of course, there are many more names, but when four courageous and inspired writers die almost together it should be marked as an important moment for all of us in PEN.

Best wishes,

John Ralston Saul

EDIT: The link to the PENProtesta petition against impunity in Mexico is available here

PEN International website, and introducing PEN women writers at the Diversity blog.

Quite recently PEN International upgraded their website , with a new structure and media centre,   all the usual PEN  links for those who wish read on issues of advocacy and freedom of speech are carried on the new site. The whole encompasses a variety of interests for our Irish PEN members, who will be interested in the work of our international affiliates across mutual areas of concern such as, The Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee, the Writers in Prisons Committee, the Women Writer’s Committee and Diversity. I am adding here the link to the PEN International landing page for our members and associates.


The  IPWWC , the International PEN Women Writer’s Committee.

The Women Writers’ Committee was set up in 1991 to promote certain issues faced by women writers around the world – challenges at family and national levels such as unequal education, unequal access to resources and actual prohibition from writing.

The committee reaches out to both aspiring and practising women writers through PEN Centres and other organisations and networks, and works with the Writers in Prison Committee on behalf of incarcerated or endangered women writers.

Representatives from the committee attend meetings of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. The committee has held conferences in countries such as Nepal, Kyrgyzstan and Senegal, and has published special newsletters. It uses Facebook to connect the work of women writers to the world. “

The Diversity Blog was launched on the 12/01/2012 and is encouraging women writers to contribute in creative areas ,like translation, poetry and literature. The information and contacts are carried at  this link.  More than ever social-media outlets like Facebook are contributing to new connections between women writers.  PEN International is facilitating these contacts across a variety of platforms which include Websites, Facebook and Twitter. There are currently two discussion groups for members and associates of PEN available on the Facebook platform, the PEN International discussion group (231 members) and the PEN International group of writers sharing opinions and texts.

Members can choose to contribute to these above-mentioned groups , or to link up with their international colleagues through sites like Diversity. Irish PEN has a Facebook account where queries regarding social-media can be sent by direct-messaging, alternatively contacts can be addressed to the Irish PEN  addresses, which I am linking  below here.


Useful Irish PEN Contacts

Irish PEN Phone Number087 966 0770

Irish PEN Email

The Irish PEN 2012 Calendar of Events.

The Irish PEN 2012 Calendar of Events.

Friday 10th February 2012: Irish PEN Award and Dinner.

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.

This year Irish PEN are delighted to be honouring Joseph O’Connor with the Irish PEN Award. The Award will be presented by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins  on 10th February 2012 at the annual Irish PEN dinner, held at the Royal St George Yacht Club.

Eventbrite Booking :


Thursday, March 8, 2012 : The Irish PEN Debate

from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Dublin, Ireland | United Arts Club

Traditional or self publishing? As publishing options change and more and more authors find success self publishing, what is the best option for authors?

Eventbrite booking :


Thursday, April 19, 2012 : Recreating the Past, Writing Historical Fiction.

from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Dublin, Ireland | United Arts Club

Join Morgan LlywelynOrna Ross and Geraldine O’Neill talking recreating the past. How much research is needed, what tips and techniques can these best selling authors pass on?

Eventbrite Booking :

Thursday, May 10, 2012 : Writing Memoir

from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Dublin, Ireland | United Arts Club

Authors Lia Mills and Sheila Maher discuss writing memoir, tips and techniques.


Thursday, October 11, 2012 : Getting Published

from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Dublin, Ireland | United Arts Club

Practical tips to move you a step closer to publication from’s Vanessa O’Loughlin, founder of The Inkwell Group.
Vanessa is founder of and the Inkwell Group

Eventbrite Booking :

Thursday, November 8, 2012 : Writing Fantasy for Young Adults

from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Dublin, Ireland | United Arts Club

Find out how best selling authors Oisin McGannCeline Kiernan and Conor Kostick create magical worlds and hook their readers in one of the biggest selling sectors of the publishing market.

Eventbrite Booking :

Thursday, December 13, 2012: John Boyne In Conversation

from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Dublin, Ireland | United Arts Club

International best selling author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and more recently The Absolutist talks to Irish PEN about writing technique, his writing technique and how those great ideas arrive.

Eventbrite Booking :

Useful Irish PEN Contacts

Irish PEN Phone Number : 087 966 0770

Irish PEN Email Contact :  

All of the above Irish PEN events take place at The United Arts Club , Dublin.   Located at Number 3, Upper Fitzwilliam Street , Dublin 2 .

The United Arts Club is situated at No. 3 Upper Fitzwilliam Street in the heart of Dublin’s historic Georgian Quarter. The Club is within a short walking distance of Grafton Street, Dublin’s fashionable shopping center, as well as many of the city’s popular visitor attractions.

Useful Irish PEN Contacts

Irish PEN Phone Number : 087 966 0770

Irish PEN Email Contact : 

Irish PEN mourns the death of Caroline Walsh

The late Caroline Walsh

Irish PEN is very sorry to hear of the sudden death of Caroline Walsh, literary editor of The Irish Times. Caroline was a great friend of Irish PEN. She regularly attended our annual dinners and awards, and she gave mention to our various events through the years. Her mother, celebrated writer Mary Lavin, had been an active member of the Irish PEN committee many years ago. We had looked forward to seeing Caroline again at our award ceremony next February.

Chair of Irish PEN, Joe Armstrong, adds: ‘Caroline was my first editor at the Irish Times, having commissioned me to write the Man Alive column, which ran for a year while Caroline was features editor. I’m shocked by her sudden death. She was a true friend of Irish PEN. We shall miss her.’

We extend our condolences to the staff of the Irish Times and to the literary community. Details and obituary for Caroline Walsh are linked herein.

  Caroline Walsh’s death-notice is linked here


Calling Irish Poets and PEN members, a note about The Festival International de la Poésie

Our festival started in 1985. This will be the 28th September in 2012. It is one of the five largest events in the world of poetry, and one of the best organised.

More than 100 poets from the 5 continents have participated every year since 1989.

The city of Trois Rivieres in on the St Lawrence seaway, half way between Montreal and Quebec. We provide travel for poets to and from Montreal airport.

There are 400 poems on walls in the city. We display 5000 in a park in the town centre during the festival.

The guest poets have only one thing to do – read their poems 2 or 3 times a day, no lectures. But they must already have at least 30 poems translated into French, as Quebec is 80% French-speaking, and our city is 99%.

One of our group will introduce the poet before the reading, read their poem in French, and then the poet will read it in his native language.

There will be about 350-400 readings of poems during the 10 day festival period,

28 September to 7 October.

More than 10000 people will attend 4-7 readings, out of the 40000 attendees.

We offer poets hospitality in a hotel, with a daily allowance for meals and another for readings.

The programme of the 27th festival is on our website, as well as an incomplete list of previous participants.

For 2012, invitations are only offered to members of a PEN CLUB, but not in future years.

We would like to host an Irish poet every year.          Information is at link :


PEN American Center : Literature Knows No Frontiers: John Galsworthy and the Shaping of PEN.


The 90th Anniversary of International PEN occurs in 2012.
This archive piece by PEN American Center sets out some of the
history of International PEN.

International PEN  has much to celebrate with 20,000 writers in 100
countries keeping in touch through conference, committee and widespread
use of social-media. I am including as link , a monthly letter from  John Ralston Saul
to our  International PEN members.


“This past Sunday marked the birthday of English novelist, playwright, and Nobel Laureate John Galsworthy (1867–1933), the first President of PEN International and author of the first three articles of PEN’s charter. As we look forward to our 90th anniversary in 2012, we also look back to our founding principles, which were written in a period with parallels to today’s uncertain climate for free expression.

History of the PEN Charter :
Letter from John Ralston Saul to PEN members